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Why Computer Science Education Is Essential To The Success Of Our Students And State

May 1, 2024
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Computer science affects every industry, person, and global problem in the 21st century. Digital tools help solve modern-day problems – from debunking misinformation, to developing sustainable agriculture, to sequencing the human genome.

As technology continues to expand, California’s students need accessible, culturally relevant computer science education. However, disparities in computer science course offerings and enrollment on the basis of gender, race, and socioeconomic status prevent equitable outcomes for California students. 60% of California’s high schoolers are Black, Latinx, and Native American/Alaskan Native students, but only 16% take AP Computer Science. Less than 30% of the students taking CS courses are girls. As a state, California must ensure equitable and accessible computer science education, addressing demographic disparities and expanding opportunities for students of color, girls, and students in low-income and rural communities.

California has made meaningful progress in access to and participation in computer science – from spearheading the Educator Workforce Investment Grant to passing legislation expanding computer science credentialing pathways for teachers. But even as the home to Silicon Valley and technological capital of America, our state lags behind in CS education equity. Here at CSforCA, we’re committed to advancing equitable computer science education through a variety of different pathways – from policy changes, to research and communications, to educator professional development.

Bridging equity gaps in California requires structural changes that account for the diverse needs of students across our state. California must invest in the essential infrastructure – qualified educators, adequate funding, and robust professional development programs that will allow students learning computer science to be properly supported. Additionally, programmatic updates in the form of smart curriculum, standards, and teacher credentialing pathways will ensure that CS education stays comprehensive and culturally relevant. By prioritizing changes like these, California can create a robust and equitable CS education system that empowers all students to thrive in the digital age.

As a coalition of K-12 educators, nonprofit organizations, higher education, and industry leaders, CSforCA is actively pursuing these solutions, building the foundation to bring quality computer science education to every student in California.

Interested in joining us to advocate for high-quality, comprehensive computer science education in our state? Read our Take Action page or sign up to get involved.

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