Obama’s budget gives $4 billion to K-12 computer science programs

President Obama’s $4.1 trillion federal budget released Tuesday would give a major boost to computer science programs in K-12 school districts in California and across the nation, science advocates said.

As a prelude to his budget announcement, Obama sent his chief technology officer, Megan Smith, to Oakland’s Skyline High School on Monday to announce a $4 billion science initiative, known as Computer Science for All. Smith chose the Oakland district as the first district to visit because of its emphasis on computer science.

The goal of the effort is to provide students from all backgrounds the opportunity to work toward careers in computer science, with salaries that are 50 percent higher than the national average salary of about $55,000, according to 2014 U.S. Census figures.

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Why computer science matters

Leadership Magazine
By Gary Page and Julie Flapan

From the arts and entertainment to agriculture, healthcare or finance, computer science is driving innovation across all fields. Computer science education provides an opportunity for schools to focus on the deeper learning and problem solving that the discipline of computer science requires. High paying jobs abound for students who have computer science knowledge and skills, preparing them to create the new technologies that drive California’s economy.

Over the last 20 years, states and school districts have worked hard to bridge the “digital divide” by increasing access to technology in schools and communities. But mere access to technology and its existing tools (such as smartboards and iPads) isn’t sufficient. Students need to know how to use technology, and they need engaged computer science learning opportunities to build creative thinking, logical reasoning and problem solving skills that involve computing.

However, computer science learning opportunities are not equally accessible across California’s schools.

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Mere access to technology won’t
bridge the digital divide. Students
need engaged computer science
learning opportunities to build creative
thinking, reasoning and problem-solving
skills that involve computing.

Policy Roundtable – Beyond Coding: Advancing K-12 Computer Science Education in California

Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 1:00-3:00 pm
California State Capitol, Room 125, Sacramento

Jobs in the field of computer science are growing rapidly throughout California, with some projections estimating nearly half of all new job growth will be in computer
occupations. Further, a foundational understanding of computer science is increasingly essential for all aspects of modern life. Yet it is estimated that only 10% of California students in grades 7-12 have taken a computer science course. Women, Latino and African-American students also continue to be severely underrepresented
in computer science classrooms and jobs.

Please join us to learn what California schools, business and community partners are doing to tackle this problem, how state and local policies are supporting change, and what else needs to be done to increase access and equity in computer science education for all California students.

Pre-registration Required, Please RVSP at

Beyond Coding Event Flyer

(Additional Speakers to be Announced)

1:00-1:10 Welcome
Suzanne Goldstein, Chief of Policy & Development, CSLNet
Andrea Deveau, California Executive Director, TechNet

1:10-1:25 Opening Remarks
Legislators are invited to make opening comments.

1:25-1:55 Today’s Landscape: Computer Science Education, Equity & Workforce Needs
The status of computer science education in California, equity challenges and the growing gap with workforce needs. Includes a preview of new data from Google on
the computer science education landscape, including California.
Chris Roe, CEO & President, CSLNet
Jennifer Wang, Program Manager, Google
Julie Flapan, Executive Director, ACCESS

1:55-2:25 A Closer Look: Computer Science Education in Action
A look at model school and district programs, how they’re overcoming barriers to expand access and equity and what challenges remain.
Panel of educators, students and business partners TBA

2:15-2:35 Next Steps: Crafting Solutions to Address Education and Workforce Needs inComputer Science
Overview of legislative efforts in California and nationally and discussion of opportunities for action.
Andrea Deveau, California Executive Director, TechNet
Amy Hirotaka, Advocacy & Policy Manager, Code.org

2:35-2:50 Closing Observations
Legislators are invited to make closing comments.

2:50-3:00 Wrap Up & Next Steps
Andrea Deveau, TechNet & Suzanne Goldstein, CSLNet

3:15-4:15 (Optional) Continue the Discussion over Refreshments at TechNet
Join us for snacks, refreshments and more time to ask questions, brainstorm solutions and find opportunities to collaborate with other attendees.
TechNet is located one block from the Capitol at 1001 K Street, 6th floor

Kids of Color Are Already Behind on Landing These Future Jobs

By Joseph Williams | Takepart.com
May 11, 2015 1:59 PM

Teen using laptop at home
Anyone with a computer probably knows the legend of Google: A pair of Stanford computer geeks in suburban San Francisco put their heads together and created a company that transformed the California economy and changed the world. But if you’re a poor and minority public high school student in the Golden State—or anywhere else in the country—that legend feels like a particularly challenging mythology.

Regular and Advanced Placement computer science courses—and teachers to lead them—are nearly nonexistent for African American and Latino students, particularly if they attend underserved schools or are English-language learners, according to a new study from the Level Playing Field Institute, an organization dedicated to bringing black and Latino kids up to speed on the information superhighway.


Reporte: Latinos son los menos educados en computación

Son pocos los latinos, como Francisco Javier Villegas, que cursan clases de computación. Foto: Aurelia Ventura/La Opinion

Son pocos los latinos, como Francisco Javier Villegas, que cursan clases de computación.
Foto: Aurelia Ventura/La Opinion

Pese a la creciente demanda de empleos que exigen habilidades en computación, la mayoría de las escuelas en zonas con alta población latina y afroamericana en California no ofrecen estas clases.

Lo anterior es el resultado de un nuevo reporte del Instituto Level Playing Field (LPFI), que analizó los currículos de los veinte distritos escolares más grandes del estado, entre éstos el de Los Ángeles (LAUSD), Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Bernardino, Corona-Norco y Riverside.

“En California casi el 75% de las escuelas con porcentaje más alto de alumnos de color no ofrecen cursos de ciencias computacionales”, indicó Alexis Martin, directora de investigación del LPFI.

A nivel local hay una buena noticia: la mayor parte de las preparatorias del LAUSD sí reciben instrucción de este tipo, encontró el estudio. “Tiene uno de los porcentajes más altos del estado”, precisó Martin.

Pero en el resto del estado el panorama es desalentador. Del más de medio millón de alumnos en veinte distritos escolares de California sólo el 1% se prepara para usar una computadora.