How is Your State Doing on Computer Science Education Policy?

How is Your State Doing on Computer Science Education Policy?

Supported by BNY Mellon, in March 2017, a coalition of organizations convened by EDC and the Massachusetts Computer Attainment Network (MassCAN) released a guide to progress on computer science (CS) education policy in each of the 50 states. State of the States Landscape Report: State-Level Policies Supporting Equitable K–12 Computer Science Education details how each state is doing advancing 10 policy priorities developed by Code.org Advocacy Coalition. The guide also includes broad recommendations for advancing policy, including building a broad base of leadership and ownership among key stakeholders.

A key policy priority is to address the lack of diversity in computer science, which was underscored by a 2016 Google report Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring the Underrepresentation of Girls, Blacks and Hispanics. The report notes:

  • Female students are less likely than male students to be aware of computer science learning opportunities on the Internet and in their community, to say they have ever learned CS, and to say they are very interested in learning computer science.
  • Female students are less interested (16% vs. 34%) and less confident they could learn CS (48% vs. 65%).
  • Black students are less likely than White students to have classes dedicated to CS at the school they attend (47% vs. 58%).
  • Although most students who have learned CS did so in a class at school, Black and Hispanic students are more likely than White students to have learned CS outside of the classroom in after-school clubs.

STEM Next would like to see state level computer science policy efforts delve more deeply into the role of afterschool and other out-of-school time CS learning opportunities and how they can be integrated into state-level policy efforts.