Fact of the Week: States That Fund Computer Science Training for Teachers Have 72 Percent More High Schools Offering Computer Science Classes

October 1, 2018

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States that fund computer science training for teachers have 72 percent more high schools offering computer science classes than states that don’t.

Source: Code.org, “2018 State of Computer Science Education,” 2018, https://advocacy.code.org/, accessed September 27, 2018.

Commentary: As computing continues to become more integral to the way society operates, the education system will have to better equip students with the skills they will need to thrive. If computer science is only offered in college, then those who don’t attend college will be locked out of a crucial segment of the economy and fewer college students will be prepared to study computer science when they arrive.

The 2018 State of Computer Science Education, released last week by Code.org, evaluated the uptake of nine policies that states can enact to improve the availability and quality of K-12 computer science classes. Only 14 states had implemented any of these policies when they were first recommended in 2013. Now there are 44—28 of which adopted new policies this year. This provides more opportunity to assess what works best. Most starkly, in states that provide funding to train existing teachers in computer science, 50 percent of high schools offer computer science classes, where as in states that don’t fund teacher training the figure is just 29 percent. However, the report also underscores that there is a long way to go: Only 35 percent of high schools offer computer science classes, and it drops to 27 percent in schools with the largest proportions of underrepresented minority students and to 24 percent in schools with the largest proportions of low-income students.