Why CS?

Discover why computer science education is essential to the success of our students and state.

  • We believe all students in California need and deserve access to the computer science education they will need to succeed in their future.
  • But data shows that this is not the case. Students of color, girls, and students in low-income and rural communities do not have access to the same high-quality computer science education as their peers.
    • Low-income schools are 4x less likely to offer Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses and rural schools are 7x less likely.
    • Black, Latinx, Native American students and girls are underrepresented in CS courses relative to their population
  • These inequities are unacceptable. We must ensure all students have equal access to computer science education and we cannot afford to leave students of color behind.
  • California leads the nation in the size of its tech workforce, adding 50,000 new tech jobs last year alone.
  • Across the nation, computer-related occupations are among the fastest growing, producing 1 million jobs over the next 10 years.
  • However, currently, California is unable to meet the growing demand for a skilled and diverse technology workforce, threatening detrimental impacts on our economic growth, competitiveness, innovation, and equity.
  • Computer science education is a critical foundation for broadening participation in California’s workforce and the jobs of the future.
  • Computer science education develops computational, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that is foundational knowledge for all students, regardless of their ultimate field of study or occupation
  • Whether our students go into tech, agriculture, arts, finance, or healthcare, nearly every industry relies on the computational thinking, creativity and problem-solving foundation learned through computer science.
  • Provided with computing skills and knowledge, students will discover innovative solutions to pressing problems and pursue college degrees and careers they never thought possible.
  • Widely-accessible, quality computer science education will prepare our students to become the innovators and inventors of the future.
  • Technology has made California one of the world’s leading hubs of innovation in fields as diverse as entertainment, social media, biotechnology, agriculture, transportation, and energy.
  • Yet, California lags behind other states in developing its future workforce by providing rigorous computer science to all students, grades K-12.
  • Simultaneously, the future workforce of California will be primarily people of color, and no longer can we accept disparities in education and the tech workforce.
  • To maintain our status as a leader in technology and create an inclusive economy that works for all Californians, we must lead a long-term, strategic approach to provide computational skills to all students, with a specific focus on communities that have been most marginalized.

FAQs

  • What is computer science?

    Computer science develops computational, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that show students how to create and use new technologies. This knowledge base is needed as a launch pad to prepare students for college, careers, and community engagement. Regardless of their ultimate field of study or occupation, a computer science education will ignite their future success.

  • Why is it important for all students to learn computer science?

    Computer science is a rapidly growing field that develops essential knowledge and skills for today’s world. Whether a student goes into tech or healthcare, agriculture or the arts, nearly every industry relies on the foundational skills of computer science. Computation integration is increasing in the job market, in both STEM and non-STEM fields. 

  • Why is computer science education important to California?

    California is a national education leader and tech capital of world. To continue to lead, California must take a long-term, strategic approach to prepare all of its students with computational skills, or risk being left behind. Occupations in computing are expected to further drive our economy and add new jobs. If Californians are going to be prepared to fill those jobs, we need to ensure our students have the skills they need to participate in a technological workforce. 

  • What does it mean to have equity in computer science?

    To achieve equity in computer science we need the participation of greater numbers of students who have traditionally been underrepresented in computer science--Black, Latinx, Native American, girls, rural students, and low-income students, in the field. The diversity in the state and the country’s population should be reflected those who participate in computer science education. To achieve equity, we must focus at multiple levels: access to CS courses, access to high-quality teaching, enrollment in CS courses, success in CS courses, and matriculation into post-secondary computing majors and careers at representative levels.

  • What policies is CSforCA advocating for?

    CSforCA advocates for all students to have access to a high-quality computer science education that prepares them for college, careers and community engagement.

    To achieve this, in 2019-2020, we are focusing on building infrastructure in our state to ensure CS can be implemented effectively and equitable. We are advocating for the following:

    Professional Learning

    Create a comprehensive regional hub of professional development and ongoing support for teachers, counselors, and administrators. The program is to be modeled after the National Science Foundation (NSF) research pilot, "Summer of CS”.

    Pre-Service Teacher Education

    Provide incentives for Schools of Education to develop pre-service credentialed programs to teach computer science. 

    Integrate College & Career Pathways

    Integrate college and career pathways to make CS available to all students and schools and increase job placement. Perkins funding can be leveraged for CS courses, regardless of pathway or teacher credential. Access to computer science should also be part of the state’s accountability system, as an indicator for college and career readiness.

    Teacher Credentialing

    California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) review of computer science teacher credentials to revisit which should authorize them to teach CS in short-term, while developing a long-term CS credential pathway.

  • What is computer science education access like in my community?

    To find out who has access to computer science education in your community, check out our data tool and click on your county or enter your district or school.

  • How can I get involved?

    To learn more about how you can advocate for equitable computer science education and get involved in the CSforCA coalition, please visit our Take Action page.

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