Nine Policies to Increase Computer Science Learning at the State Level
The 2019 State of Computer Science Education, a nationwide study conducted by the Advocacy Coalition, the Computer Science Teachers Association and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, found that two conflicting trends are at work in computer science as it is taught in American high schools.
- The demand for computer science education is high. Computer jobs are a major opportunity for students. Those jobs, in fact, are the number one source of new wages in the U.S. economy. In addition, 9 out of 10 parents want their children to study computer science.
- But astonishingly, only 45% of American high schools teach computer science. That is not a typographical error; only 45% of our secondary schools teach computer science at all. We hope that yours does.
How and Where Has that Shortfall Developed?
The State of Computer Science Education report offers many answers to that question. That is only one of the reasons why all people who are concerned with computer science education should download and read the full report.
But How Can that Shortfall Be Corrected?
The coalition that produced the report suggests that to encourage more schools to teach computer science, the following steps should be implemented at the state level:
- Create a state plan for K-12 computer science studies
- Define computer science and establish rigorous K-12 computer science standards
- Allocate funding for rigorous computer science teacher professional learning and course support
- Implement clear certification pathways for computer science teachers
- Create computer science programs that institutions of higher education can offer to preservice teachers
- Establish dedicated computer science positions in state and local education agencies
- Require that all secondary schools offer computer science, with appropriate implementation timelines
- Allow computer science to satisfy a core graduation requirement
- Allow computer science to satisfy an admission requirement at institutions of higher education
If you teach in a state or a school where computer science is not getting its due, the nine suggestions above could serve as discussion points in your school, your school system, and your state. It’s surely time for all students to be able to study computer science while they are in high school. Can you, as a teacher, help make that happen?
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