States and local school districts need to adopt a broad policy framework to provide all students with access to computer science. The following nine recommendations are a menu of best practices that states can choose from to support and expand computer science. Not all states will be in a position to adopt all of the policies. Read more about these 9 policy ideas at
State Plan -
yet created a state plan for K-12 computer science. A plan that articulates the goals for computer science, strategies for accomplishing the goals, and timelines for carrying out the strategies is important for making computer science a fundamental part of a state’s education system.
K-12 Standards -
Arizona adopted K–12 computer science standards with a focus on equity in 2018. The state intends to close the access gap for underserved populations including students with disabilities, women, and students in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Standards within each grade band address concepts of equity, such as bias, accessible technology, and inclusivity.
SB 1720 (FY 2024), HB 2862 (FY 2023), SB 1823 (FY 2022), SB 1692 (FY 2021), HB 2302 (FY 2020), and HB 2663 (FY 2019) included $1M annually for the computer science professional development program, prioritizing schools that currently do not provide computer science instruction. The program requires a 50% match of state funding with private monies or in-kind donations. In addition, HB 2303 (FY 2019) prioritized rural schools and schools with at least 60% of the students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. HB 2537 (FY 2018) allocated $200K to support standards and professional development. SB 1568 (FY 2017) allocated $500K, with a focus on Native American students.
In Arizona, teachers with existing licensure can obtain the PreK–8 or 6–12 endorsement by completing a district-approved program or academic coursework in computer science content and teaching methods. The PreK–12 special subject endorsement requires completing academic coursework in computer science content and methods.
Pre-Service Programs -
has not yet
established programs at institutions of higher education to offer computer science to preservice teachers. The computer science teacher shortage can be addressed by exposing more preservice teachers to computer science during their required coursework or by creating specific pathways for computer science teachers.
Dedicated State Position -
The Arizona Department of Education has a Computer Science and Educational Technology Specialist.
Require High Schools to Offer -
does not yet
require that all secondary schools offer computer science. The state can support the expansion of computer science courses by adopting policies that require schools to offer a computer science course based on rigorous standards, with appropriate implementation timelines and allowing for remote and/or in-person courses.
Count Towards Graduation -
Arizona passed a permissive and encouraging policy to allow computer science to count as a mathematics credit for graduation, but it is a district decision.
IHE Admission -
does not yet
allow computer science to count as a core admission requirement at institutions of higher education. Admission policies that do not include rigorous computer science courses as meeting a core entrance requirement, such as in mathematics or science, discourage students from taking such courses in secondary education. State leaders can work with institutions of higher education to ensure credit and articulation policies align with secondary school graduation requirements.
Graduation Requirement -
does not yet
require students to take computer science to earn a high school diploma. Graduation requirements ensure that all students get exposure to computer science.