CSforAZ

CSforAZ (Computer Science for Arizona) is a statewide computer science initiative focused on bringing computer science education and professional development statewide. CSforAZ brings together a coalition of partners from government, K-12 districts, higher education, business, and non-profits; all focused on enabling high-quality, equitable CS learning opportunities for all students in Arizona.

CSforAZ is supported by a group of dedicated volunteers committed to enabling all students in Arizona to have access to computer science education.


We Believe

We believe all students in Arizona have a right to CS education as a basic form of literacy that enables them to:

  • critically engage in public discussion on computer science topics;
  • develop as learners, users, and creators of computer science knowledge and artifacts;
  • better understand the role of computing in the world around them; and
  • learn, perform, and express themselves in other subjects and interests.

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These goals can be achieved through creation and implementation of K-12 rigorous computer science standards, funding for computer science professional development and course support, clear certification pathways for computer science teachers, and established programs at institutions of higher education to offer computer science to pre-service and in-service teachers.

CSforAZ commits to creating an Arizona state plan and policy which enables all K-12 schools to offer CS, fund CS professional development, and create high quality CS standards.


The Need for CS Education

Computing permeates every aspect of our society, creating a high demand for technological innovations that change how we think, connect, conduct research, build products, and more. As the foundation for all computing, computer science is defined as “the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications and their impact on society” (Tucker et al., 2006, p. 2).

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This demand drives the economy and creates a direct impact on the job market; the U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.1 million computing-related job openings in the U.S. by 2024, but more than two-thirds of these jobs could go unfilled due to the insufficient pool of college graduates with computing related degrees. Computing underpins every other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM fields  as a highly versatile and sought-after skillset that is essential in today’s information economy.

As computing has become an integral part of our world, public demand for computer science education is high. Nine in ten parents would like their child’s school to offer computer science (Gallup, 2015). In fact, most Americans believe computer science is as important to learn as reading, writing, and math (Horizon Media, 2015). Many of today’s students will be using computer science in their future careers across all fields (Change the Equation, 2015). Unfortunately, the opportunity to learn computer science does not match public demand.


Arizona Challenge

  • Only 31 schools in AZ (10% of AZ schools with AP programs) offered the AP Computer Science course in 2015-2016.
  • Of the 438 high school students in Arizona puzzlewho took the AP Computer Science exam in 2016, only 23% were female, 62 students were Hispanic or Latino, 4 students were Black, 1 student was Native American or Alaska Native, and 1 student was Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
  • There are fewer AP exams taken in computer science than in any other STEM subject area.
  • Of the 546 computer science college graduates in Arizona in 2015, only 15% were female.

Arizona Opportunity

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As of 2017, Arizona had 9,667 open computing jobs, or 3.1 times the state average demand rate.  The average salary for a computing occupation in AZ is $85,165, which is significantly higher than the average salary in the state ($45,310). The existing open jobs alone represent a $823,290,055 opportunity in terms of annual salaries. With opportunity comes responsibility to ensure that all students have equitable access to CS courses that prepare them to be computational citizens.


Arizona Vision

The State of Arizona envisions a future in which students are informed citizens who can

  • critically engage in public discussion on computer science topics;
  • develop as learners, users, and creators of computer science knowledge and artifacts;
  • better understand the role of computing in the world around them; and
  • learn, perform, and express themselves in other subjects and interests.

By working toward policy that ensures that Arizona has rigorous computer science standards, funding for rigorous computer science professional development and course support, clear certification pathways for computer science teachers, and established programs at institutions of higher education to offer computer science to preservice teachers, CS for AZ will become a reality.  Along with the Governor, who has stated his commitment to the Governors for CS initiative, we commit to working toward enabling all K-12 schools to offer CS, fund CS professional development, and create high quality CS standards.