California parents sharpen their computer science skills alongside students

EdSource

Parents are playing a more hands-on role in California’s ongoing quest to grow the number of students who pursue technology professions — and tech-savvy workers in all kinds of fields.

At schools around the state, parents are learning how to code alongside their young children as a way to increase interest in computer science as a potential career path. Called Family Code Night, these events are designed to help address the need to expand the pipeline in order to meet the demand of one of the state’s fastest growing job sectors.

“I didn’t have this when I was in school, and it’s so cool to see him do it,” said Manuel Majinmontijo, an electrician who sat next to his 3rd-grade son Markus during a recent Family Code Night at Bagby Elementary School, part of the Cambrian School District in San Jose.

With more than 68,000 open computing jobs across the state, according to an estimate by the national computer science education nonprofit Code.org, state education officials have made increasing access to computer science education and careers a priority. Gov. Gavin Newsom also is proposing to allocate $15 million in next year’s state budget for school districts to prepare nearly 10,000 K-12 teachers to teach computer science.

There’s still a long way to go: Only 3 percent of California’s 1.9 million high school students were enrolled in a computer science course in the 2016-17 school year, according to according to a 2019 report from the Kapor Center, a nonprofit that focuses on equity in technology.

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