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Communications of the ACM

Education

Is the U.S. Education System Ready For CS For All?


computers in classroom

Credit: Getty Images

The increasing focus on K-12 computer science (CS) education in the last few years has been driven by two key factors: producing enough computing professionals to support the workforce and drive innovation, and ensuring that this workforce is sufficiently diverse to represent all perspectives. However, the diversity gap persists. Stereotypes and educator biases start young, as early as preschool.1, 2, 3 One way Google is contributing to CS education efforts is through new research that identifies structural and social barriers, as well as strategies to overcome them.

This column presents insights derived from the Google-Gallup national research. With CS education relatively young in the K–12 space, our multi-year study sought to understand the context of K–12 CS education. Over two years, we surveyed about 16,000 nationally representative students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents across the U.S. in the fall/winter of both 2014–2015 and 2015–2016. Students, parents, and teachers were surveyed via telephone while principals and superintendents were surveyed online via an email invitation. We also designed the study with a focus on diversity—particularly girls, Blacks/African Americans, and Hispanics/Latinx. We wanted to uncover any structural barriers as well as social perceptions and biases that may be affecting these groups.


 

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