California is known as a world leader in driving the digital age through our information technology sector. Yet, few students have access to high-quality K-12 computer science education in the state. A key issue is that rigorous computer science courses typically do not satisfy a core mathematics or science graduation requirement for entrance to the UC system. We are seeking program status (statewide recognition) for AP Computer Science (CS) Principles and AP Computer Science A to be allowed to satisfy a mathematics “c” or science “d” credit for University of California admissions.
Although Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District is in the heart of the Silicon Valley – home to many high-tech companies including Google, Intuit, AOL, Adobe, Microsoft, NASA Ames, Silicon Graphics, and Oracle – as recently as 2012 there was no college preparatory computer science course offered at the district’s two comprehensive public high schools. And this lack of access is widespread across California. Just under 4,000 students took the AP Computer Science A exam in 2012, compared to more than 31,000 for AP Biology and almost 60,000 for AP Calculus. Limited access also creates serious gender and equity issues for underserved minorities. In 2012, only 45 African Americans and 306 Latinos took the AP CS A exam.