Analysis: Computer science ed fails to meet workforce needs

Dive Brief:

  • In a new analysis, "The Case for Improving U.S. Computer Science Education," the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation finds that current instruction in U.S. classrooms fails to meet demand for a skilled computer science workforce, with only a quarter of schools offering the subject.
  • ITIF recommends that lawmakers move to expand access to computers and CS curricula, which is now concentrated in wealthy districts, to rigorous, high-quality courses at the high school and college levels.
  • The analysis also found that the student population taking the AP computer science exam is just 4% black, 10% Hispanic, and 22% female.

Dive Insight:

According to the analysis, while there's more attention being paid to CS right now in U.S. classrooms, that interest needs to be actively cultivated. Otherwise, fully-developed, equitable curriculum development might not actually happen.

 "...It is time for computer science to be seen as a core science on par with more traditional high school offerings such as biology, chemistry and physics, which have been the focus since the 1890s," the analysis states. "...Policy and program reforms are needed to support and maintain the groundswell of interest in computer science."

In order for expansion to occur, ITIF recommends that existing tech classes should be reformed in order to focus on core concepts. All states can also offer CS credits as counting toward fulfillment of math or science requirements, and CS coursework at the college level could be better incentivized in order for higher ed institutions to expand their offerings. Computer science is recommended for students as early as elementary school. 

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Filed Under: K12 Technology
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