Supporting our Black Employees, Students, and Teachers: Jan. 2021 Update

In June of 2020, when police brutality in the United States sparked global protests against racism, Code.org published a blog post outlining our commitment to supporting our Black employees, partners, teachers, and students.

In that post, we wrote that “our first action will be to engage all our employees in a company-wide brainstorm and reflection, because the work we do won’t be limited to one day or one week, and we want all our employees to contribute to it.” After multiple brainstorming sessions for our entire staff, we came up with a long list of ideas. Every 6 months we will report on our actions taken and results of our work from this list.

Below are actions we’ve taken at Code.org in the last 6 months towards our Black Employees Students and Teachers (BEST) plan.

1) Disaggregated Code.org student data by race and ethnicity

Below is the chart showing the racial/ethnic distribution of the tens of millions of students on Code.org:

The racial and ethnic makeup of students with accounts on Code.org.

2) Analyzed race/gender intersection among computer science students

3) Made social justice a theme for the Hour of Code and CS Education Week

  • As part of our spotlight Hour of Code: AI, we produced and promoted multiple videos focused on AI and Ethics (Ethics & AI: Equal Access and Bias, Ethics & AI: Privacy & the Future of Work), as well as an AI/Ethics lesson plan for classrooms, all of which have an emphasis on racial equity.
  • We hosted a live panel discussion about AI and Ethics during CSEdWeek, with an emphasis on racial equity
  • Our CodeBytes live lessons during CS Education Week included multiple CS for Good themes, including Apps for Good, a virus simulation, and AI for Good. Our marketing messaging around Hour of Code emphasized these themes.
  • As part of transitioning leadership of CSEdWeek to the CS Teachers Association, the 2020 CSEdWeek theme is #CSforSocialJustice.

4) Hosted company-wide hackathon with a focus on racial equity

5) Measured participation by Black students in the 2020 State of CS report.

6) Changed language from “underrepresented minorities” (URM) to “underrepresented racial and ethnic groups” (URG)

7) Established an equity rubric for our government policy recommendations

8) Facilitated listening sessions with Black employees

9) Hosted internal inclusivity survey

This is just a start.

Over the next 6–12 months, our future roadmap includes many new efforts, such as:

  • A video campaign and a speaker panel to inspire Black students to try computer science (during Black History Month)
  • A third-party review of our curriculum to identify opportunities for improved cultural responsiveness (by race and gender)
  • A mentorship program for employees, with intentional support for our Black employees
  • A third-party study of employee pay equity (by race and gender) to address any wage gaps
  • Sharing the insights and any corresponding actions from our internal surveys and listening sessions.

Code.org was founded on the vision that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, and our work is not done until we reach balanced representation in K-12 computer science.

We look forward to reporting again on our progress in June or July.

-The Code.org Team

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