For the sake of California’s future, teach all kids tech

In California, we know the value of technology. Thanks largely to the world’s largest tech companies right in our backyards, California leads the nation in overall economic output. Technology has made our state one of the world’s leading hubs of innovation and creativity, across multiple industries.

Yet, when we shift our view from tech’s present to its future, the Golden State’s outlook isn’t so robust. Today, our kids aren’t learning the computer science knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in the future tech-driven workforce.

Just three percent of California’s 1.9 million high school students took a computer science course in 2017. This is one of the startling findings of a recent Kapor Center study of K-12 computer science education in California’s schools. The study took a comprehensive look at computer science access, enrollment and equity in statewide classrooms.

While computer science course availability has grown, almost two-thirds of our state’s schools still lack any computer science curriculum. Only a small fraction of students learn computer science in school at all. And the picture only worsens when considering socioeconomic status, gender, race, ethnicity, and geography.

Low-income schools are four times less likely to offer Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science courses. While female students comprise 50 percent of California’s high school population, they make up just 29 percent of the students taking introductory CS courses.

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