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Link Love: Computer Science learning resources

Empowering today’s youth with technical skills will lead to economic empowerment, increased innovation, and most importantly, lots and lots of amazing new technology for us all to enjoy! Win, win, win.

A singing, painting Kitty, animated in Scratch

As we’ve been talking about all week, this week is CSEd week, a national campaign to promote Computer Science education in K-12 schools. As you might expect, this is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts here at Skillcrush. We have all grown up without ready or easy access to Computer Science education, and we are now doing a lot of catch up! Empowering today’s youth with technical skills will lead to economic empowerment, increased innovation, and most importantly, lots and lots of amazing new technology for us all to enjoy! Win, win, win.

Did you know…

  • Only 1300 students took the AP Computer Science test in New York State last year.
  • On average, only 19% of students who take the AP Computer Science test are female, in comparison, women make up 54% of students taking all AP exams.
  • The Office of Civil Rights has flagged access to STEM education as a possible Title IX issue.
  • AP Computer Science is only taught at 10% of American high schools.
  • If a student doesn’t have access to AP Computer Science there is little to no other way for them to get a technical education.

That’s the bad news, so now for what we can all do it improve the situation!

If you want to support Computer Science education…

  • Start by signing the CSEd Week pledge in support of, you guessed it, Computer Science education in K-12
  • Consider donating your time or money to nonprofits that are working to train under-represented minorities in Computer Science. We love Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code.
  • Reach out to your local high school and offer to come speak. Teachers are often looking for professionals to inspire their students.
  • Browse the National Center for Women in Information Technology’s database of membership organizations to see if there is one near you.

If you want to teach Computer Science…

Looking for inspiration?
Check out Women Techmakers!

Jennifer Pahlka of Code for America
Code for America is a fellowship program that pairs developers with local governments all over the country who need their tech skills. Founder and executive director Jennifer Pahlka will be discussing how Code for America is rebooting the government.

Wednesday, 12/12: 2:30 pm PST, Watch live

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2 comments

  1. CJ Replied

    Great article! Thanks for supporting CSEdWeek.

    I have one question, though. Can you further explain this line: “If a student doesn’t have access to AP Computer Science there is little to no other way for them to get a technical education.”

    It is saying that if AP CS isn’t taught, there are no other HS CS classes that can give students a technical education? (Which doesn’t make sense to me, as I know that some high schools teach regular CS courses without having an AP course).

    Or is it saying that without taking AP CS, students will have a hard time obtaining the requisite knowledge of CS to enroll in a college CS degree? (Which again doesn’t make sense to me, since many CS programs don’t require prior knowledge of CS, although some at top universities do).

    I am in total agreement that we need more CS taught in high schools, but I’m just confused about what exactly that one line was trying to say. I’m also not necessarily sure if having AP CS taught is more of a necessity than having regular CS classes taught at the high school level. In my mind, make CS courses a standard and required part of the HS curriculum is most important; having an AP-level course is a great thing to have once basic CS courses are part of every student’s education.

    • Adda Replied

      Hi CJ! Thanks for your question – I think your point is well taken. In terms of data, its really hard to pin anything down outside of AP CS. Meaning, that AP CS becomes sort of a stand-in for any CS class taught at the high school level.

      Which is to say, you are absolutely right any type of CS program or class is awesome and super helpful, but if nothing is being taught then most students don’t have another option. Or, put another way, don’t have another significant opportunity to be exposed to tech education.

      Now, of course, motivated students will always find a way, but as we are all seeing the value and importance of CS or tech skills is heavily weighted towards certain groups (and not others) and in general, there are just not enough students engaging. And the only way to really push the needle on that is to make CS education (AP, or otherwise) more common.

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