Bowling Green, KY (December 12, 2019) – As we celebrate 2019 Computer Science Education Week, we also celebrate the important milestone of every state in the U.S. (and Washington, D.C.) having adopted at least one of nine policies that support teaching computer science in schools. Supporting computer science education is especially important for all students who will never know a world without computers. In addition to instilling basic digital literacy skills, students gain critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that are conducive to thriving in a digital world. If states continue to embrace computer science education, it will become a foundational class like math, English or social studies.
The Code.org Advocacy Coalition, which consists of over 70 tech sector organizations, nonprofits and teaching advocacy groups, is committed to supporting policies that make computer science a fundamental part of the K-12 education. Over six years ago, the coalition outlined nine policy recommendations to make computer science fundamental to K-12 education:
- Create a state plan for K–12 computer science
- Define computer science and establish rigorous K–12 computer science standards
- Allocate funding for rigorous computer science teacher learning and course support
- Implement clear certification pathways for computer science teachers
- Create programs at institutions of higher education to offer computer science to preserve 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
When these policy recommendations were initially published in 2013, only 14 states had at least one of these policies in place. Today, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have implemented one of these policies. According to the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, “These policies will grow and sustain the teaching and learning of K-12 computer science. The policies focus on equity and diversity, clarity, capacity, leadership, and sustainability.” The Coalition recently released a report, 2019 State of Computer Science Education Equity and Diversity, that provides an analysis of national and state trends in computer science participation, computer science policy summary and state-specific updates and summaries. If you are interested in learning more about computer science education in your state, the report is available here.
In addition to advocacy groups and policymakers working hard toward implementing policies in support of computer science education, students across the worlds have been participating in the Hour of Code over the last few years. This began as an effort to introduce students to computer science but has evolved to an annual global celebration of computer science, starting with one hour coding activities and other community efforts during Computer Science Education Week. This year, there are over 120,000 Hour of Code events taking place with almost 40,000 events across the U.S. To learn more about the Hour of Code, visit https://hourofcode.com/us. Also, you can follow #HourOfCode on Twitter to see all the exciting events taking place throughout the week.
About the Author: Heather Gate in the Director of Digital Inclusion for Connected Nation. She is responsible for strategy development and implementation of programs that impact Digital Inclusion for all people in all places. She provides project management services including identification of program challenges and goals as well as day-to-day oversight and funding research. Heather also serves on the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE).
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