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The nonprofit’s new state-by-state analysis of computer science education has good news and bad news: 2023 saw major progress in making it a requirement, but enrollment is not sufficiently high or equitable.

computer science word map
This year has seen the highest increase in the number of U.S. high schools offering a foundational computer science course since 2018, with more than half of U.S. high schools now offering one, but K-12 educators still have a long way to go in making students future-ready given the rapid evolution of digital technology, according to a new report from the nonprofit

An advocate for computer science requirements in public schools, released a 61-page “State of Computer Science Education” report today. The nonprofit’s Vice President of State Government Affairs Sean Roberts emphasized the urgency of’s mission now that it has published a state-by-state breakdown of where and how computer science instruction is falling short.

“At a minimum, students should not just be consumers of technology,” Roberts said. “They need to become critical thinkers and creators, and not consumers of technology without knowing the background of how it works.”
According to the report, only eight states — Arkansas, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee — have legislation requiring public school students to pass a computer science course in order to graduate high school. There are 14 states where less than half of high schools offer computer science instruction. While 57.5 percent of U.S. public high schools now offer a foundational computer science class — up from 53 percent in 2022 — there are still more than 10,000 high schools across the country that don’t have a single course. And across 35 states, only 5.8 percent of high school students are actually enrolled in a foundational computer science course.

The report also notes:

  • Nationally, Hispanic students are 1.4 times less likely than their white or Asian peers to enroll in a foundational computer science course, even if their school offers it.

  • Females make up 31 percent of the students enrolled in foundational computer science courses.

  • In 31 states, at least 46 percent of middle schools offer foundational computer science.

  • In 2023, state education departments in Minnesota, Louisiana, Michigan and New Hampshire funded computer science education for the first time.

  • Nationwide, a record-high $120 million was allocated for computer science instruction in public schools in 2023.

  • In 2017 only two states had instructional plans for including computer science instruction. This year, 30 states have plans.
Roberts said a minimum of 20 hours of computer science instruction centered on programming, sequencing and concepts should be made available to all students before high school graduation, “so they understand the impacts and the roles technology plays in their lives.” Computer science education is a bipartisan issue that lawmakers, leaders, policymakers, students and families overwhelmingly support, he added.

“There are very real implications in answering the question, ‘How do we do it?’“ Roberts said.

But when states mandate computer science instruction, Roberts said, school districts tend to find a way to fit those courses in, and then gender, racial and socioeconomic gaps in enrollment shrink as a result.

The report provides data and recommendations for each state. For example, in Minnesota, where only 28 percent of high schools offered computer science instruction during the 2021-2022 academic year (the last year reported from that state), advises leaders to fund professional development opportunities for incoming and existing teachers so schools can reach ideal staffing levels to provide the necessary instruction. In Arkansas, where 99 percent of high schools provided computer science courses last year, encourages the state to enhance the courses to meet career and technical education (CTE) standards.

The report touches on the emergence of artificial intelligence in the classroom as all the more reason to require computer science education. It also explains what concepts of computer science are taught at lower grade levels. At elementary schools in 19 states, students learn block-based coding and teachers use visual aids to help them understand algorithmic thinking. In middle schools, according to’s data from 31 states, students complete a broader range of coursework that focuses on algorithmic logic, and they also complete programming projects independently.

Roberts said he’s hopeful that schools across the country will eventually add computer science as a core subject, joining math, science, English/language arts, and social studies.

“Computer science is like biology — it touches everything and affects everything around them,” he said. “It’s hard to argue that computer science does not have the same impact.”
Aaron Gifford has several years of professional writing experience, primarily with daily newspapers and specialty publications in upstate New York. He attended the University at Buffalo and is based in Cazenovia, NY.