It’s no secret computer science education is seen as one of smartest ways to prepare students for the future of work.
And in the last 12 months, 33 states have adopted a total of 57 policies to support computer science education, according to a report out today from the nonprofits including Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance. For instance:
- Alabama set a timeline by which every middle and high school would be required to offer basics in computer science and computational thinking.
- Connecticut required all teacher preparation programs to include instruction in computer science.
- Indiana adopted a state computer science plan, made changes to computer science standards and curriculum and is appropriating $3 million to the subject.
Despite all that activity, across 39 states, only 45 percent of high schools teach computer science. And students receiving free and reduced-price lunch and those from rural areas are less likely to have access to those courses, the report found.
Code.org recommends states:
- Create a plan for K-12 computer science;
- Establish standards for K-12 computer science education;
- Allocate funding for computer science professional learning;
- Implement certification pathways for computer science teachers;
- Create post-secondary programs to offer pre-service training to teachers;
- Establish dedicated computer science positions at the district and state levels;
- Require that all secondary schools offer computer science; and
- Consider making computer science both a core graduation requirement for high schoolers and an admissions requirement for state postsecondary institutions.
For now, most states don’t meet all those recommendations, although some are adopting them at a quick rate. Right now, for instance, just 19 states make it a requirement for all high schools to offer computer science. That’s a big uptick though, from 2017, when just four states required those courses. And 34 states have adopted K-12 computer science standards, a major jump from 6 states in 2017.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.