The Most Important Book You Will Read This Year

You might remember Jane Margolis’ and Allan Fisher’s book from a few years ago called “Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing”. That book was a germinal work about computer science education and it fundamentally changed how many of us look at issues of gender and computing.
Well, Jane has done it again, and if you can find time to read nothing else this year, read “Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing”.
This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about the critical intersections of education, race, and computing. It is shocking and sad and uplifting and it is essential reading for educators, administrators, parents, community leaders, policy makers, and anyone who cares about the future.
Margolis and her team show that when it comes to education and computing, the emperor has no clothes. Schools may be filled with shiny new machines but this is no guarantee that students are learning the high level critical thinking skills they require. The writers also lay bare a pervasive and systemic racism that virtually guarantees that even the best and brightest minority students receive nothing more than rudimentary point and click computing education, severely diminishing their abilities to succeed at the post secondary level and to thrive in the increasingly technological world in which we live.
Set all of this in a bureaucratic quagmire where actually educating the students (rather than just managing them) is a near impossibility and one begins to feel as though this is a hopeless situation. But this is where “Stuck in the Shallow End” actually triumphs. In the midst of grim reality it offers hope (grounded in solid research), showing how researchers, teachers, and administrators can work together to acknowledge and overcome the ingrained inequalities that keep so many of our students from achieving their full potential.
And it should also be mentioned that this is not just a thoughtful book, it is also extremely well-written and accessible, even to the most dedicated non-techie.
If you are an educator, if you care about educating all students, if you care about understanding what is going on and doing what is right, get this book. I know your time is precious, but it will be worth every minute you spend reading it. I promise.
Chris Stephenson
CSTA Executive Director

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