It’s that time of year again—nestled between Thanksgiving and winter break is Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code, offering super-cool activities to keep restless students engaged in programming challenges.
This year, educators are focusing on all the things that make computer science education important and necessary for today’s students—namely, how programming builds skills like critical thinking and problem solving that help students in daily life, the fact that these students will have STEM-focused careers (including some that don’t yet exist), and the need to fill programming jobs that sit empty due to a lack of highly qualified workers.
Computer science drives innovation throughout our economy, according to stats on Code.org, but it remains marginalized in the K-12 education system. Just 15 states have adopted policies to give all high school students access to computer science courses, and of those 15, only 6 states give all K-12 students access to computer science courses.
And that career gap we mentioned earlier? Code.org has some jaw-dropping data on that: Last year, only 49,291 computer science students graduated into the workforce, but there are—brace yourselves—570,926 open computing jobs nationwide.