A significant driver behind the disparities in computer science education is the need for qualified instructors. Over the next 5-10 years, we aim to endorse hundreds of teachers in computer science and support hundreds more through ongoing professional learning activities so that every Illinois high school is equipped with a qualified CS teacher.
We urgently need to address the disparities that exist in CS education in Illinois, which, make no mistake, is a social justice issue. And we need to start with the quality, delivery, and accessibility of K-12 computer science instruction in Illinois.
DPI offers professional development workshops for educators that focus on current gaps in existing PD offerings, such as AR/VR, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Game Programming and Design, and Text-Based Programming.
It is critical for teacher preparation programs in the state to produce dedicated CS teachers. In partnership with UIUC’s College of Education, a pre-service, undergraduate licensure will be developed and vetted by the State Board of Education.
Working with statewide policymakers, school administrators, and educators, we will expand the number of schools offering computer science courses and more advanced courses (including Advanced Placement CS A and CS Principles).
With funding from the CME Group Foundation, our partners at UIUC’s College of Education are conducting a comprehensive study to collect data on computing education at all grade levels from kindergarten through community college in Illinois.
The report will uncover data points like what CS courses currently exist, who teaches them and their backgrounds, and where there are disparities. Report findings will establish a baseline for our goals and will be used to inform needed program activities. We expect the report to be complete by Summer 2021.