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California still lags in computer science classes at high schools

Despite recent gains, California still lags behind 34 other states in the percentage of high schools that offer computer science classes, according to a new report released this week.

The California Computer Science Access Report,” by the Kapor Center and Computer Science for California, examined the computer science landscape in the state’s public high schools. It found that 42% of California high schools offer computer science classes, a 3 percentage point gain from 2016. Only 13% offered an advanced placement computer science class.

Schools that serve low-income and rural communities, and those with a high percentage of Black, Latino, Pacific Islander or Native American students were less likely to offer computer science classes.

“Findings indicate that, while some progress has been made in expanding access to computer science education, much work remains to increase equity in access and enrollment,” the authors wrote.

The report suggests that the state offer incentives to recruit more computer science teachers, especially those who are Black or Latino; make computer science a bigger priority in K-12 learning; and integrate computer skills into other subjects, so students learn the basics of computing regardless of whether they’re enrolled in a computer science class.

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