Calling on Biden and Congress: Fund computer science in schools

This issue is bipartisan: The Obama and Trump administrations both supported computer science. We call on the Biden administration to ask Congress to fully fund CS.

From 2014: Vice President Joe Biden during the Hour of Code event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

As schools reopen this fall, we call on the U.S. federal government to fund computer science courses in K-12. Computer science is foundational, not only for students who want careers in tech, but for citizenship in a digital world.

Research shows that CS helps students succeed in other academic studies and leads to increased college enrollment. CS opens doors of opportunity to middle-class jobs — there are 569,000 currently open jobs in computing occupations across every industry. But access to CS is woefully inequitable. Finally, given the growing cyber threat, it is a matter of national security to educate our future workforce to defend the digital infrastructure we all depend on.

President Biden has supported computer science and Code.org since this speech at the National Governors Association in 2014.

Support for computer science is bipartisan. Both the Obama and Trump administrations supported CS: The Obama administration made a call to action for CSforAll and funded NSF research, and the Trump administration made computer science a competitive priority for EIR grants from the Department of education.

The Biden White House has now signaled that CS will be a priority in its education plans. The next step is for the White House to ask Congress to fund CS.

The majority of U.S. schools still don’t offer basic computer science classes. Opportunity should be equal, but it’s not. Black students are almost half as likely to have the option to study CS in school as white students. We must fix this.

Chart showing underrepresented racial/ethnic groups’ access to computer science. Our goal at Code.org is for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science.

Over 100,000 CS teachers have attended professional learning workshops and begun teaching computer science. Thanks to the passion of these teachers, change is possible. Ultimately this effort needs funding to succeed.

Previous administrations have funded CS education research and innovation, which is an important start. A long-term approach to solving this problem is for Congress to fund school districts specifically to expand access to CS classes.

Fortunately, the U.S. Senate has for the first time agreed to authorize funding for computer science in new legislation (USICA, section 6112), but this needs the full support of Congress. We call on the Biden administration to ask Congress to fund CS. Please share this post if you agree. [Share on Twitter] [Share on Facebook]

Meanwhile, thanks to local champions and members of the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, over two dozen states have taken action, allocating millions of dollars from state budgets. We applaud this local action and call on other states to follow suit.

In the last eight years, computer science has become the fastest-growing subject in primary and secondary education, globally. Over 70 countries have announced plans for CS, and millions of teachers have begun teaching CS in their classrooms. This movement has grown thanks to the passion of these educators, but the work is far from done. We hope that the U.S. Congress will act to give every student in every school the opportunity to learn computer science.

— Hadi Partovi, Code.org

Code.org® is dedicated to expanding access to computer science increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.