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Educators Say Computer Science Lifts Students' Job Options
Gallup Blog

Educators Say Computer Science Lifts Students' Job Options

by Stephanie Marken and Chris Stephenson
Educators Say Computer Science Lifts Students' Job Options

With computing driving innovation in almost every field -- art, business, communications, healthcare, STEM, etc. -- it is important for students to be exposed to computer science education early to help ensure they can thrive in their careers and as informed citizens.

A new Google/Gallup study finds that eight in 10 U.S. school district superintendents either "strongly agree" (42%) or agree (38%) that having computer science education would significantly improve the future career options for students in their school district. Another 14% are neutral on this question, and only 6% disagree.

Nearly nine in 10 superintendents from urban districts (89%) agree that computer science education would improve career options for their students, while roughly eight in 10 superintendents from suburban (81%), small-town (79%) and rural (78%) districts say this. Superintendents from urban (49%) and suburban (49%) districts are more likely than those from small-town (40%) and rural (38%) districts to strongly agree that computer science education would improve their students' future career options.

Superintendents' Views of Computer Science Education in Boosting Students' Career Options
Having computer science education would significantly improve the future career options for students in my school district.
Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly disagree
% % % % %
U.S. superintendents 42 38 14 3 3
Urban 49 41 8 1 2
Suburban 49 32 12 3 4
Small-town 40 39 16 2 3
Rural 38 40 15 4 3
Note: Sum of percentages appearing in article text may differ from tables due to rounding
GOOGLE/GALLUP, 2020

Similarly, eight in 10 U.S. school principals either strongly agree or agree (79%) that computer science education would significantly improve the future career options for students at their school. High school principals (46%) are more likely than middle/junior high (41%) and elementary (37%) school principals to strongly agree. Somewhat fewer public school teachers than principals agree that computer science education would improve the future career options for students at their school (69%).

These findings are among those highlighted in a new Google/Gallup report, Moving Forward: Closing the Computer Science Learning Gap -- Rural and Small-Town School Districts, and they supplement results from the main report, Current Perspectives and Continuing Challenges in Computer Science Education in U.S. K-12 Schools. These results are from the third study in Google and Gallup's multiyear, comprehensive research effort to better understand perceptions of computer science and access to computer science learning opportunities in K-12 schools. The reports include results from surveys of students in grades seven through 12, parents and guardians of students in these grades, teachers, principals, and superintendents.

More Superintendents Than Principals, Teachers Say Computer Science Is Top Priority

While most educators agree that computer science education boosts future career options for their students, there is less consensus on the prioritization of computer science in schools.

Nearly six in 10 superintendents (58%) agree that computer science education is currently a top priority for their district. While 42% of superintendents are neutral on the question, no superintendents disagree with this statement.

In fact, far fewer principals than superintendents agree that computer science education is a top priority for their school district. Principals are just as likely to disagree (32%) as they are to agree (28%).

Even fewer public school teachers agree that computer science education is a top priority for their school. They are about three times as likely to disagree (56%) as they are to agree (18%) that it is a top priority.

Educators' Views of the Priority of Computer Science Education
Computer science education is currently a top priority for my [district/school].
Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly disagree
% % % % %
Superintendents 14 44 42 0 0
Principals 6 22 40 24 8
Public school teachers 7 12 25 31 25
Note: Sum of percentages appearing in article text may differ from tables due to rounding
GOOGLE/GALLUP, 2020

Superintendents from urban (64%) and suburban (64%) school districts are somewhat more likely than those from small-town (56%) and rural (56%) districts to agree that computer science education is currently a top priority for their district.

Implications

Educators are united in their belief that access to computer science education expands students' future job options, and yet more superintendents than principals and teachers believe it is a priority in their district or at their school. This research underscores a disconnect between the perceived importance of computer science education and the actual priority assigned to it. It is only through continued commitment, effort and action that there can be equitable access to computer science education.

This is the fourth article in a four-part series that explores results from and implications of the Current Perspectives and Continuing Challenges in Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools report. Accompanying articles discuss perceptions of the importance of computer science; access, availability and quality related to computer science education; and insights into girls' computer science interests and aspirations.

Author(s)

Stephanie Marken is Executive Director of Education Research at Gallup.

Dr. Chris Stephenson is Head of Computer Science Education Programs at Google.

Valerie J. Calderon contributed to this article.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/322013/educators-say-computer-science-lifts-students-job-options.aspx
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