Parents and students alike can have more confidence that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are preparing kids for the job market as the district makes computer science a compulsory subject in high school. CPS is addressing the need for a more technology-based education by partnering with a nonprofit that promotes education in the tech field in order to provide additional training to teachers.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that every district high school will offer an introductory computer science class within three years under the K-12 computer science education plan. Additionally, half of all high schools will offer an Advanced Placement computer science course within five years.
Under the program, computer science will no longer be an elective course at high schools. Students will have the tools needed to build computer applications and programs in classes in elementary schools as part of the plan, which is also meant to close the digital divide as well as gender and skills gaps.
According to officials of Advanced Placement computer classes, 20% are women and about 10% are African-American or Latino. In addition, they cited that by 2020, there will be 760,000 new jobs in the U.S. requiring computer and information technology skills — but only 40,000 graduates with computer science degrees, according to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.