Computer science mania sweeps the US

The darker blue represents the 20 states that have already passed laws, the lighter blue represents states with initiatives underway

Throughout the United States, education leaders and policymakers are joining forces to bring computer science classes to our schools. Since January, 20 states from Alabama to Wyoming have passed laws and funded $49 million to expand access to and diversity in K-12 computer science.

Every student in every K-12 school deserves an opportunity to learn computer science. This gives students a chance to start on a pathway toward the highest-paying tech jobs; and because technology will impact every sector, computer science is foundational for any 21st-century career. The teacher-led movement for computer science now boasts 850,000 teachers, and education leaders and policymakers are responding to this grassroots support.

These 20 states passed new laws or initiatives to support K-12 computer science (CS) since January of this year:

All of the above happened in the last four months, and the momentum continues! California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Utah all have major computer science initiatives underway in their state legislature and/or within state agencies. And Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio and Rhode Island are all in the process of developing standards for CS.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, new grant guidelines prioritize funding for computer science in schools, and Congress’ 2018 federal budget has dedicated $50 million per year for STEM and computer science.

The momentum behind computer science in schools has never been stronger. In just five years, 43 states have taken steps to support this movement. Internationally, 25 countries have announced national plans.

Thank you to the incredible partners in the Advocacy Coalition, our local champions, and members of the computer science community helping to drive these reforms within their states. None of this work would be possible without all of these individuals and organizations working together toward the vision of expanding access to computer science.

Thanks to you, when history looks back on this decade, the push to add computer science to schools will be seen as one of the fastest-spreading movements in all education. Our children owe a debt of gratitude to every teacher, volunteer, business leader, and policymaker who has advocated or supported the simple idea that every student in every school deserves the opportunity to learn computer science.

Thank you for helping create a better future for our children,

Cameron Wilson, President — Advocacy Coalition

Note: In places where a year is listed as a requirement to teach CS, the requirement begins in the school year that starts with that date. For example, in Hawaii, the requirement is for the 2021–2022 school year. Also, “computer science” and “schools” refer to K-12 computer science, and K-12 schools.