What is the Computer Science Education Coalition?

The Computer Science Education Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding computer science education in K-12 classrooms across America to ensure our nation remains globally competitive and our students are given the opportunity to develop the skills they need to participate in tomorrow’s economy.

Who are the members of the coalition?

The Computer Science Education Coalition is a cross-section of U.S. businesses, education leaders and NGOs who have come together to expand access to and federal funding for computer science education in K-12 classrooms across America.

How does the coalition plan to achieve this objective?

While many states and schools have been proactive in their efforts to boost computer science education in the classroom, a federally focused and funded strategy is necessary to amplify and accelerate these efforts. The Computer Science Education Coalition will advocate for $250 million in federal funding for computer science education this fiscal year.
Our members have signed on to support the creation of a policy solution that addresses the immediate void – a lack of computer science in K-12 classrooms. Other countries are making computer science a priority and it is imperative that we do the same here if we wish to remain globally competitive. We need to grow our pipeline of computer scientists who can fill jobs across many industries based in the United States – IT, aeronautics, health care/research, defense, etc.

How will $250 million in federal funds make a difference?

An initial infusion of $250 million in federal funds could support as many as 52,500 classrooms, which has the potential to reach 3.6 million students across the U.S. in the coming year. It will also build on state efforts and spark further state initiatives to expand computer science education for all students, which will help America’s competitiveness for decades to come.

How many schools currently offer computer science?

Only one in four schools currently teach any computer science courses, despite the fact that the majority of parents and teachers believe it should be required learning for 21st century students. In fact, around 90% of parents want computer science taught in their schools according to a 2014 Google-Gallup survey.

Are there any successful state initiatives for computer science?

A number of states have put a tremendous amount of effort into boosting their computer science education programs. Around 29 states have worked to ensure computer science credits are counted towards a student’s high school graduation requirements. Governors and local leaders from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) have launched initiatives to better integrate computer science into K-12 classrooms. But, to build upon the important progress taking place on the local level, a federally focused and funded strategy is required.

What impact will an increase in exposure to computer science at a young age have?

Exposure to computer science often spurs an interest in the subject, particularly among historically underrepresented groups—females, African Americans and Latinos. Girls who take AP computer science in high school are ten times more likely to major in computer science in college. Additionally, African-American and Latino students who take this course in high school are over seven times more likely to major in this field.
Further, it will spur more U.S. graduates in this field, which is necessary to fill the current 600,000 computing job vacancies in this country.

Will early exposure help to address the diversity problem within the tech sector?

The fields of software, computing and computer science are plagued by tremendous underrepresentation of women, African Americans, and Hispanics. In high school, the Advanced Placement exam in computer science has the worst gender diversity across all AP courses – 78 percent of the participants are male. Just 12 percent of the students taking the exam are students of color. This problem extends into the software workplace, which suffers a similar lack of diversity. The focus of this initiative is on K-12 learning, because that is where the diversity problem begins and must be addressed.

Why does the coalition believe congressional investment in computer science education is needed now?

The dearth of computer science education in classrooms has left America in the midst of a STEM jobs crisis—which is really a crisis in computer science education. Today, there are over 500,000 computing jobs unfilled, while our universities only graduate about 43,000 computer science graduates each year.
In order to meet the demand to fill these U.S. jobs, close the current skills gap, and boost America’s competitive position globally, an immediate federal investment in K-12 computer science education is critical.