Recommendations for Federal, State, and Local Governments

In the U.S., most of the authority for determining what education is required of students and how their knowledge is measured is held at the state or at the school district level. The federal government also provides a layer of funding and policies that heavily influences education. Because the levers for education reform rest at multiple levels of government, policy makers at all levels must work toward creating a much more robust, clear, and coherent structure committed to ensuring that computer science is a core academic subject. Here are our specific recommendations on how federal, state, and local policy makers can close the significant gaps we have identified in this report.

For All Levels of Government

  • Clearly define computer science education.

Federal Government

  • Support state planning and implementation grants to improve computer science education;
  • Build partnerships and national networks of support;
  • Create pre-service and professional development opportunities for computer science teachers;
  • Appoint blue ribbon commission to review the computer science teacher certification crisis; and
  • Expand K–12 computer science education opportunities within existing federal programs.

State and Local Governments

  • Create a well-defined set of K–12 computer science standards based on algorithmic/computational thinking concepts;
  • Count computer science courses toward a student's core graduation requirements either as a computer science credit or as a mathematics or science credit;
  • Develop courses to implement new computer science standards;
  • Develop assessments for computer science education;
  • Categorize computer science courses as academic courses;
  • Expand professional development opportunities and recruit new computer science teachers;
  • Expand access to computer science courses for under-represented populations; and
  • Create flexible certification programs for computer science education grounded in the knowledge of the field.