What do we mean by "for all"?
Students of color, students from rural communities, and girls are systematically excluded from CS education in our state.
There are many reasons for this:
- Rural and low-income communities often don't have resources to attract and hire excellent CS teachers.
- Some teachers, parents, and advisors hold myths that only some students can learn CS, deterring youth from registering for CS electives.
- Racial stereotypes about programmers being white and Asian boys deter girls and youth of color from pursuing CS education.
- Class stereotypes about computer programmers being wealthy and elite deter many youth who think it is not for them.
- Intelligence stereotypes about computer programmers needing to be "genius" deter many youth who think they aren't intelligent enough.
- Youth with disabilities may be skeptical that they'll be supported in learning computing, and avoid registering for electives.
- Curriculum that is divorced from students' interests, lives, culture, and community make youth believe it's not relevant to their lives.
Overcoming these barriers requires us to create intentional, equitable pathways that engage all of Washington's youth in learning about computing.
Are there resources for broadening participation computing?
- The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has many resources for systematically engaging girls in CS education.
- The National Girls Collaborative Project has many resources for engaging girls in CS education.
- AccessComputing has an extensive knowledge base of strategies for supporting youth with disabilities.
- Microsoft has a guide for inclusive CS teaching.
These resources largely focus on recruitment and retention strategies that engage and successfully teach excluded students.