CA Schools Have a Computer Science Problem
California is known as a global leader in technological development and innovation. Home to Silicon Valley, the Golden State employs over 1.5 million tech employees, and the sector accounts for nearly 17% of the state’s GDP. Astoundingly, however, California has been ranked as one of the worst states for computer science education.
Just 40% of California high schools offer computer classes, according to a 2022 report by Code.org. Nationwide, the average 53%.
A shortage of computer science teachers is at the root of the problem. Lawmakers rejected a bill that would have required all California high schools to offer computer science because of the shortage.
The state and nonprofits are working on growing the field. San Francisco State University is using grant money from the National Science Foundation to help prospective computer science teachers get the credits they need. UC Berkeley has a free program to get teachers qualified. The Salesforce Foundation has been funding computer science offerings in Bay Area schools. The state has allocated millions in investments to increase the number of qualified computer science teachers. And this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1251, which will create a commission to help streamline the accreditation process for computer teachers.
Progress is happening, but it’s slow. Read more about the efforts to improve California’s computers science education here.