Empowering States to Make Computer Science Fundamental

by Pat Yongpradit @MrYongpradit | 8/16/2017

As the Chief Academic Officer of Code.org, Pat Yongpradit, is dedicated to promoting CS education. As a national voice on K-12 CS Ed, his passion is to bring CS opportunities to every school and student in the US. While he spends more time focused on CS education from a national perspective, he still continues to get back into the classroom to work with students.

Infosys Foundation USA has always been a strong supporter of computer science (CS) education efforts nationwide, including our work at Code.org. Following up on a popular state policy panel at last year's Crossroads conference, Code.org was excited to collaborate with Infosys Foundation USA to cultivate speakers, panels, and participants for a first ever CS education policy track at Crossroads 2017. More than a dozen state education agencies were represented, from Hawaii to Ohio, and from Mississippi to North Dakota.

The policy panels addressed:

What matters most is what happens after such a conference. Here are actions that some states have taken after their experience at Crossroads:

  • Hawaii has begun evaluating the development of K-12 CS standards, as well as an overall state strategic plan
  • Mississippi has put forth a graduation requirement for CS. The Board of Education is currently hearing public comment
  • North Dakota has specifically cited Crossroads as a reason they’re excited to develop a comprehensive state plan

Trying to add a new field, such as CS, to an existing K-12 education system can be daunting. Wisely, states want to learn from what other states are doing, so gathering states to allow them to share insights and approaches is invaluable to moving the field forward. On behalf of the states involved, I want to thank Infosys Foundation USA for including a policy track in this year’s conference. As evidenced by the state actions above, it has already had an impact on states working to improve CS education for all of their students.

States Want Computer Science, So What's the Plan?

State Computer Science Planning Toolkit