ASCD California

Study: More than half of California high schools lack computer science courses

06/17/2019 1:12 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

Study: More than half of California high schools lack computer science courses

Increase seen in schools offering computer science reflecting push by the State Board of Education


JUNE 17, 2019

California has the highest number of technology workers in the country. But many students in the state lack access to the computer science courses that may set them up for those career opportunitiesa new study shows.

More than half (61 percent) of high schools in California do not offer computer science courses, according to a study released Monday by the Kapor Center, a nonprofit that focuses on equity and access in technology, and Computer Science for California (CSforCA), a campaign that promotes access to computer science education in California.

The high schools that do offer computer science courses are more likely to be in high income or urban areas.  Students of color and students in rural and low income areas are least likely to have access to computer science courses, the study found.

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 the report. In 2018, only 1 percent took an Advanced Placement computer science course, which can offer students college credit.

“We have made progress in the state, but overall we have a lot of work to do to ensure that all kids in California have access to computer science,” said Allison Scott, a report author and chief research officer at the Kapor Center “It’s a critical moment.”

The report also highlights several promising trends, including how the availability of computer science courses in California has been steadily increasing in recent years. Thirty-nine percent of California high schools now offer computer science courses, up since 2014, when about 24 percent of high schools offered them.

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