How to Advocate for Computer Science in Your Local Schools

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75percentUnderrepresentedComputer science is everywhere, and its prominence is growing as our economy depends more and more on technology. Computers and technology are, by all measures, booming industries whose influence will only increase in the years to come.

So you may wonder, if computer science is at the heart of all this growth and progress in our economy, why do we still need to advocate for it to be taught in our public schools?

Why do we need to advocate?

Because although computer science jobs are growing at twice the national average, schools have yet to recognize CS as a core subject. Shockingly, Code.org predicts there will be 1 million more jobs than computer science students in 2020.

CS Stats

Source: http://code.org/stats

Here are some more surprising facts:

What's the latest news from Capitol Hill and beyond?

There is GREAT news breaking from the federal government this month. Long story short, on 12/2/15, the House passed a bill (359-64) that, among other things, now recognizes computer science as a core subject. The bill makes updates to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a document which schools across the country consult when deciding what to teach. By listing CS as a core subject, schools will now be more inclined to place appropriate emphasis on this discipline moving forward. An added bonus? The bill also provides funding for CS professional development. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the matter this week, after which the White House is expected to sign off by the end of the year. So, stay tuned! (Update 12/10/15: the bill was approved and moved to the President's desk!)

There is also great news at the state and district level as several states begin to lead the way in CS education. Here's how a few trailblazing states are proving to be excellent models as others begin to follow suit.

How can YOU help?

So how can you help advocate for computer science?

  1. Read up on why it's important to make computer science fundamental to K-12 education.
  2. Look at Code.org's fact sheet for your state.
  3. Take action!
  4. Keep up the momentum. We hear a lot about CS education during CSEdWeek, but keep up the conversation throughout the year.
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About Author

Lucy Kosturko

Lucy Shores Kosturko, PhD manages product development for SAS Institute's K-12 educational initiatives, a suite of cross-platform offerings promoting data literacy, artificial intelligence and computer science. After graduating with a B.A. in psychology and computer science from Rhodes College, she earned a M.S. in computer science and PhD in educational psychology from North Carolina State University. Lucy lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and two daughters.

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