Computer Science Education: Who Gets Ahead, Who Is Left Behind?

From The Hill:

In California, the tech capital of the world, only 39 percent of its high schools offer computer science courses, and just 3 percent of California’s 1.9 million high school students took a computer science course in 2017. Computer science is often only offered in high-income areas with less diverse student populations. Students of color, rural students, and low-income students are much less likely to have access to these foundational courses or to be actively engaged in them. Despite significant efforts from national, state and local leaders, agencies, and organizations, these trends are similar across every state. By the end of high school, only a select few students have developed foundational computing skills and knowledge needed to pursue degrees and careers in computing-related fields.

These numbers are scary, troubling, disappointing, and depressing. But they also show an opportunity, one just sitting there waiting for a little bit of attention and a modicum of resources. This is an easy fix.

Setting up Scratch

If you want to save your projects that we start during club so that you can keep working on them at home, you’ll need set up an account. Because Scratch is a free program sponsored by MIT, they’ve made this as simple as possible.

First, go to https://scratch.mit.edu.

On the page’s upper right corner, look for “Join Scratch.”

Then follow the instructions to set up your account.

A few notes for parents … Scratch was specifically designed for kids, so they minimize the data needed for sign-up. Online projects are closely monitored to help maintain a friendly and respectful working environment. You can review MIT’s policies here. And if you need to limit your child’s online exposure, they have a desktop version that does not require internet access.