The American Institutes for Research published its CSforCA Policy report recently, titled “California Computer Science Education Policy Contributing Factors to Success and Opportunities for Further Progress.” The report thoughtfully examines CSforCA’s policy successes, future priorities, and contributing factors through a series of interviews with 20 individuals involved in the CS education policy process.
The report outlines CSforCA’s policy wins from the past decade, including:
*Interviews were conducted between October and December 2020. CS education was included in the Governor’s 2021 budget.
These achievements are credited to “CS Champions” in policymaker roles. These Champions already believe in the CS equity cause and are crucial to effective advocacy because they are in a position to make change.
The other major contributor to CSforCA’s policy agenda is the Coalition itself. Diverse perspectives are important to attaining CS equity, so the range in professional roles and backgrounds in the coalition is broad. As stated by a person interviewed for the report,
“[The coalition is] is able to bring together all these different entities, to really push that same goal to make it all fused together. It’s going to take a lot of effort, and then, all great things I’ve noticed in policy take like decades . . . in order to come together and create a plan, create goals, and really find those next steps that need to take place.”
The report also outlines policy priorities for the future, including:
Meanwhile, students were transitioning from in-person learning to online models.
The pandemic reflected major barriers like the digital divide that currently prevent California from reaching CS equity. Students in low-income families and rural areas struggled to keep up with their peers because they didn’t have access to quality internet. Expanding access to devices and broadband connections—combined with increased awareness about the digital divide—opens the door to further discussion about emphasizing CS in schools.
If we want to prepare California students for the future through computer science education, we must also ensure that every student has access to devices, broadband, and high quality teaching and engaging curriculum.
Download the full AIR Policy Report or read more about CSforCA’s policy wins from the last decade.