- Since 2013, the number of states with at least one policy related to computer science education in K-12 schools has increased from 14 to 44, according to a State of Computer Science Education report released Thursday from the Code.org Advocacy Coalition and the Computer Science Teachers Association.
- The report identifies nine policies that help increase the spread and scale of the subject, which the report calls “one of the few policy issues that can address both foundational education needs and workforce development demands for a state’s future workforce.” The polices range from those focusing on clarity, such as developing a state plan and establishing computer science, to sustainability strategies like allowing computer science to satisfy a graduation credit and requiring all secondary schools to offer the subject.
- The authors, however, identify disparities in students’ access to computer science. Across 24 states, 35% of high schools offer the subject, and schools with higher percentages of underrepresented minorities are less likely to offer it. Students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches, and those living in rural areas and towns are also less likely to have computer science available at their schools.
A 2016 report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation noted the challenges that schools face in trying to add computer science to the school day. But with technology permeating individuals’ daily lives, automation within industries and the demand for professionals with computer science skills, policymakers and business leaders are calling on schools to make computer science more than just a one-time event during the school year.
While 22 states now have K-12 computer science standards and several more are developing them, according to the just-released report, one of the biggest challenges schools face is hiring skilled computer science educators. The report notes that 33 states and the District of Columbia offer certification for computer science teachers, but only 13 state have higher education teacher preparation programs, and just 19 states provide funding for professional learning opportunities.
The report also offers state-by-state data, allowing school leaders to see which policies their state has implemented and to gather details on standards, the supply of graduates, and other statistics on access to the subject and the computer science teacher workforce.