Moving From “CS for a Few” to “CS for All” to “CS For Each”

When I first joined CSTA almost a decade ago, computer science education was absent from most school districts. Rigorous computer science courses were often tucked away in the classrooms of exclusive private schools and affluent public schools. Even then, the myopic focus on programming languages attracted a very narrow and homogenous subset of students. Computer science education was for the very privileged few.
The past few years have revitalized computer science education. Multiple groups including the NSF, non-profit education organizations, and industry have joined the policy efforts of CSTA with the shared mission of elevating computing education. This united public messaging echoes what teachers already know – computer science education is important knowledge needed for all students to participate in 21st century democratic and economic society. Indeed, CS for All has become a powerful policy movement.
But, as all the students gain access to computer science learning, teachers are charged with the task of teaching each student based on the lived experiences, prior knowledge, and the wonders of the world that the child brings to the classroom. Developing a computer science classroom that welcomes each child requires a culturally responsive pedagogy that views diversity as a strength that should be integrated within the curriculum. Additional instructional supports for English language learners and students with disabilities should be developed and shared to support teachers in a CS for Each model.
To see this in action, we can observe how our CSTA colleagues in the Chicago Public Schools focused on supporting teachers as the key component of increasing access and equity for students. Both before and after ensuring a district commitment to provide CS for all, the teacher corps in the city has committed to bring high quality professional development and curricular resources to their colleagues in order to transform this district policy into inclusive teaching practices. This dual model of policy push, with a strong emphasis on the professional support of teachers, gives us a concrete example of how CS for Each can be realized.
Joanna Goode
CSTA Equity Chair

One thought on “Moving From “CS for a Few” to “CS for All” to “CS For Each”

  1. I agree that computer science must be mainstreamed so that students can learn applicable skills for the 21st century job market. My concern is that education schools may not be able to keep up with demand for high quality computer science teaching professionals. Perhaps more of an apprenticeship style of learning would be in order here.

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