Stats show that currently only a quarter of schools in the United States offer computer science. Dig deeper into these stats and you will discover that students from the Black and Hispanic communities and girls are adversely underrepresented in computer science classes from as early as high schools.
In the modern economy that is increasingly revolving around technology and the Internet. Having computer science skills is a tool for socio-economic empowerment. The fact that fewer schools in America teach computer science puts the United States as a country, in a disadvantageous position considering the role technology, plays in the modern world economy.
As far as diversity and inclusion goes within the American corporate community. The underrepresentation of girls, Blacks and Hispanics in computer science from as early as in high school sets the stage for a predominantly male and White empowerment.
In 2011, the City of Chicago was among the first cities in the US to introduce a nationally recognized course, Exploring Computer Science to high schools through the National Science Foundation grant.
Again in December 2013, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel tabled a 5-year plan that will see computer science become a core subject in high schools. Leading to the partnering of Code.org with public schools in Chicago to provide a curriculum and prepare teachers.
Fast forward to today, the City of Chicago has become the first big city in the US to announce that going forward computer science will become a requirement for all high schools graduations. This announcement was made after a vote by the School Board.
The vote was passed with the view that every student deserves to learn how software and computer works, and gain knowledge that will help them pursue a career in tech fields. The move will see America’s 3rd-largest school district graduate students with a sound foundation in computer science.
The computer science classrooms in Chicago established in partnership with Code.org already boasts of 34% female students and 60% Black and Hispanic students. The curriculum being taught was designed to engage students that particularly don’t naturally gravitate towards computer science.
However, there is still room for improvement as currently only half of the City’s 106 public high schools offer computer science. Only portions of K-8 schools teach computer science. Chicago requires additional funding to make computer science curriculum roll out to all public high schools in the city.