2 Minute Summary: Girls Who Code Helps Draft Landmark Legislation Aimed at Closing the Gender Gap
Today's article comes from EdSurge, an independent news provider for educational technology in K-12 and Higher Ed. Girls Who Code Helps Draft Landmark Legislation Aimed at Closing the Gender Gap was written by Emily Tate, a K-12 reporter at EdSurge.
Girls Who Code is on an important mission - to close the gender gap in computer science and technology. Emily Tate from EdSurge reports that Girls Who Code has been working with policymakers at the state and national levels to make a greater impact for students. In fact, Girls Who Code has created four key policy objectives designed to close the gender gap for K-12 students in computer science.
Washington, in particular, is getting ahead of the other states. Last week, it became the first state to officially approve of the Girls Who Code policy objectives by signing a bill incorporating these goals. This bill moves Washington State one step closer to closing the computer science gender gap.
What's in the bill?
Tate reports that Washington's bill is nearly identical to Girls Who Code's policy. The bill states that K-12 schools will now need to annually report the number of computer science classes they offer. In addition, Washington schools will need to publicly share the number and percentage of kids who take these classes and include student demographic info such as gender and race. Washington's education department will start keeping track of this data beginning with the next school year.
In addition to this bill, Washington has already been taking action to bolster their computer science education. For instance, they've invested in teacher training and even implemented computer science standards in their K-12 school districts. However, there is still more work to be done in terms of student participation. K-12 computer science classes in Washington are still heavily dominated by male students. Tate reveals that females make up less than 25 percent in these classes.
Washington's new bill is a step in the right direction. Collecting this K-12 computer science data will provide greater insights about the current gender gap. Moreover, sharing this data publicly will allow more people to notice these current challenges and design better solutions to close this gap.
While Washington State is pioneer on this educational issue, others aren't too far behind. Tate says that Girls Who Code is currently working with a few other states to draft their own bills that will help to close the gender gap in K-12 computer science education.
Closing the gender gap in computer science education is a huge task with a lot of moving parts. Policy change is an important, if not the most important, place to start. It's exciting to hear that other states are also getting on board with the Girl Who Code's policy objectives. I'm looking forward to checking out Washington's first annual report in 2020.