Perceptions of CS as Non-Academic: The computer science leaders in Georgia have been fighting a problem of perception on several fronts. At the state level, there is currently a focus on industry that is leading to “low level” IT skills rather than computer science. This has led to an effort to change the learning objectives for the first course to ones that are less rigorous.
Misperceptions also reside at the school level. Both school administrators and teachers fail to recognize CS as a complex discipline and expect that teachers can learn how to teach it with minimal training.
I think the biggest challenge right now is that no one is recognizing us as an academic discipline. It's absolutely okay that we're not in the core, I’m not suggesting that CS ever necessarily be in the core, but people really consider us still to be just a frou-frou elective, and not taking us seriously.
So there's many issues, people didn't know what computer science is, they think computer literacy is CS, so if you know how to use a keyboard, so keyboarding classes, computer apps are all considered CS often in schools, and so getting them to understand the difference, getting them to understand that CS is more than you can learn in just a week, that's a big issue, that people don't have any idea what CS is, they have an idea that it's a low level programming job, they have no idea all the things you can do with CS, they have no idea how many different things there are to learn.
So one big problem is that principals don't understand that you can't teach someone who knows nothing, enough to teach AP CS in one week. They'll expect us to, and send someone to a one week workshop where we say explicitly, do not take this workshop if you don't have any background in programming. People will say "I'm signed up to teach it, so I have to teach it.
The misperceptions extend to the school counselors as well. Teachers complain that school counselors view the computing courses as “dumping grounds” for students with behavioral problems. Ericson explains, "they think ‘hey it's a computer, they'll get to play with a computer all day, that'll keep them busy, that'll keep them out of trouble.’ So that's another issue that people have faced." She feels that it is a "never ending battle…to get people to see what it is, that it is important, that it is just as important as a science or a math if not more important."