Posted by David Lockett and Lawrence Tanimoto on Apr 14, 2023

Policy Committee looking at a poster board full of writing

Teachers are the secret sauce in CS education policy and advocacy. The K-12 CS education movement needs your energy, advocacy, and ideas.

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Teachers are the secret sauce in CS education policy and advocacy. The K-12 CS education movement needs your energy, advocacy, and ideas.

Computer science education policy and advocacy efforts raise awareness among policymakers, educators, and the general public about the importance of computer science education in strengthening existing education models. Advocacy plays a crucial role in promoting universal and equitable participation in computer science education and training our teachers to instruct students in a rapidly evolving subject.

CSTA Policy Comittee Headshots

We all have great hopes for the $50 billion national computer science education bill to be signed into law this year, but it won’t happen. Computer science education remains a state-by-state, district-by-district, and even a school-by-school battleground.

While several great organizations support CS education policy and advocacy, most of their contacts are at the state level. States pass legislation and write policies, but implementation between districts and schools varies widely. A vast majority know that CS education is important and want it for all our students. But according to the 2022 State of Computer Science Education report, only 53% of high schools provide a foundational computer science course nationwide. In addition, only 5.6% of students are enrolled in a CS class (36 states). Teachers must be the “boots on the ground” advocates for the schools and districts left behind.

We need your ideas. CS education is a rapidly evolving field. Advocating for CS education is in its infancy. The many great organizations promoting CS education have

good ideas but lack the K-12 “teacher voice” and feedback from the field.

The teachers in your state have many good ideas of how to implement, teach, and advocate for computer science education. Let a thousand flowers bloom. We must learn how to best share these practices within our states and even nationally.

CSTA is uniquely positioned to represent teachers – the secret sauce – within the CS education movement. CSTA’s core value is “a voice for teachers, driven by teachers.” CSTA established the Policy Committee last year to help teachers organize their chapter membership to advocate for computer science education within their state and local communities. Advocacy is now a part of the Chapter Success Rubric, and all chapters should have an Advocacy lead to help other chapter members advocate for CS education and bring the best ideas in their teaching communities to the fore.

There is a close relationship between CS Ed advocacy and CSTA chapter success. Whatever a chapter can do to improve its membership and activity will improve its ability to advocate and visa-versa.

As a CS teacher, you already have an outsized positive impact on society. You can magnify that impact further by joining the CSTA Policy Committee and being the Advocacy lead for your chapter. Join us today!

Note: The CSTA Policy Committee will be presenting on chapter advocacy on May 16 as part of the Chapter Leadership Series.

About the Authors 

David Lockett and Lawrence Tanimoto are members of the CSTA Policy Committee.