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New Coalition to Build Computer Science Expertise in Atlanta

A multiyear plan to build up computer science learning and teaching in the Atlanta area has enlisted the participation of school districts, universities, nonprofits and industry partners.

Atlanta skyline from the water.
A new coalition in Atlanta, led by a nonprofit along with a policy think tank and advocacy center at Georgia Tech, is planning a multiyear effort to build a diverse and thriving technology economy in the city by boosting computer science education programs and career paths.

As described in a recent news release, the CSforAtlanta coalition will work with eight K-12 school districts in the greater metro region to develop strategic plans for implementing computer science courses, as well as after-school programs for students and families. It will also work on recruiting computer science teachers, facilitate professional development for them, and work with city and state officials to endorse policies for making computer science education equitable and sustainable.

Leaders of the coalition include the nonprofit Kapor Foundation, the Constellations Center for Equity Computing at Georgia Tech, and 19 specific people at those and other organizations, such as the mayor’s office, Atlanta Public Schools, Georgia State University, the Georgia Department of Education, Morehouse College, Clayton County Public Schools, Google, Amazon, RaspberryPi Foundation, CodeHouse, Goodie Nation and Siegel Family Endowment.

Georgia passed a law in 2019 mandating a computer science offering in middle and high schools by the 2024-2025 school year. However, a 2023 report from the nonprofit found that only 71 percent of high schools in Georgia were offering computer science courses by then, and less than 6 percent of Georgia high school students took computer science that year.

Kamau Bobb, a CSforAtlanta partner and senior director of Georgia Tech’s Constellations Center for Equity Computing, said in a public statement that the coalition should be a counterweight to any obstacles or opposition to students of diverse backgrounds entering the field.

“We are at a crossroads unprecedented for our generation where our efforts to achieve fair and just computing are confronting direct legal and social opposition,” he said. “This collaboration across institutions and organizations will not only serve as opposition, but as a champion for finding sustainable pathways to support student growth from the classroom to the tech industry and to a meaningful contribution to society.”

Donnie Beamer, senior technology adviser to Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, said in a public statement that building a strong local economy is only part of the coalition’s goal.

“Computer science provides students with computational thinking skills and exposure to concepts that will enable them to thrive, whatever path they take after school,” he said. “This is about unlocking opportunities for students ready to make an impact in Atlanta and around the globe.”

The news release said CSforAtlanta is the latest of several efforts, amounting to over $10 million in investment, by the Kapor Foundation to expand computer science education, job access and related startups in the Atlanta region.