A study by the New York University Research Alliance’s CS4ALL initiative, CS4ALL. 2015, – showed it only 17% of public schools and meeting equity goals for girls, Black, and Latino students. While schools are making progress in developing computer science courses, the report found numerous inequities in the availability of computer science courses at school and non-school sites. Many female students of color are turned off before entering upper-level courses.
The CS4ALL initiative The goal is to expand access to computer science courses to all students in New York City, especially disadvantaged students. The initiative has reached more than 800 schools, trained more than 2,000 teachers, and had 6,857 students take the AP Computer Science exam in 2020.
Educators love it Shanua Newton-Rodriguez I hope to change these imbalances as an example. Newton-Rodriguez focuses her lectures on career paths and ways to make money, and “incorporates culturally relevant lessons into her lessons.” One example discussed was Tesla cars that failed to detect dark-skinned pedestrians.
In addition, Newton-Rodriguez uses practical examples to convince her students why computer technology is needed.
Because computer science is not a core subject, Newton-Rodriguez does not have teachers to help students with disabilities, making it difficult to identify students whose math skills need help. His efforts are also thwarted by his colleagues, who believe that other topics should be covered instead.
At the Energy Technology High School in Queens, Joel Bianchi aims to make computer science more accessible. Prior teaching experience was described as isolating prior to joining Mathematics for AmericaBianchi won the 2019 College Board AP Computer Science Women’s Diversity Award for having 10 male and 10 female students in her first year of teaching.
She notes the struggles of female students to belong, stating that they “subconsciously perpetuate stereotypes.” By becoming more aware of these internal struggles, Bianchi was able to provide more personalized assistance to her female students.
Bianchi sees failure in the classroom as a great learning opportunity. Bianchi reviewed and corrected students’ tests to allow students to learn from their mistakes and improve their GPA.
According to the NYU Research Alliance, while inequality persists, some progress has been made. According to the report, 91% of New York schools taught computer science in 2021, up from 76% in 2019. And 17% of schools are meeting the equity targets of the CS4ALL initiative in 2021, a five-fold increase. % from 2019. The report concluded that schools making significant improvements are likely to have more teachers participating in CS4All professional development.
42% of test takers are women, compared to national statistics where 28% of AP Computer Science test takers are women.
Many educators have expressed the view that computer science education should begin at an early age, as evidenced by a report by the NYU Research Alliance. Elementary schools were found to be more successful in meeting the goals of the CS4ALL initiative compared to middle and high schools because computer science was integrated into the curriculum for all students.
There are still many steps to be taken before NYC can make computer science accessible to all students; However, the work of educators like Newton-Rodriguez and Bianchi can help speed up this process.