Support K-12 Computer Science Education in Texas

Computer science drives job growth and innovation throughout our economy and society. Computing occupations are the number 1 source of all new wages in the U.S. and make up over half of all projected new jobs in STEM fields, making Computer Science one of the most in-demand college degrees. And computing is used all around us and in virtually every field. It’s foundational knowledge that all students need. But computer science is marginalized throughout education. Only 45% of U.S. high schools teach any computer science courses and only 11% of bachelor's degrees are in Computer Science. We need to improve access for all students, including groups who have traditionally been underrepresented.

In Texas, there are currently 40,866 open computing jobs with an average salary of $94,779.

Yet, there were only 4,160 graduates in computer science in 2018 and only 46% of all public high schools teach a foundational course.

Computer science in Texas

  • Only 14,483 exams were taken in AP Computer Science by high school students in Texas in 2020 (6,577 took AP CS A and 7,906 took AP CSP).
  • Only 29% were taken by female students (24% for AP CS A and 33% for AP CSP); only 3,882 exams were taken by Hispanic/Latino/Latina students (1,351 took AP CS A and 2,531 took AP CSP); only 558 exams were taken by Black/African American students (197 took AP CS A and 361 took AP CSP); only 72 exams were taken by Native American/Alaskan students (31 took AP CS A and 41 took AP CSP); only 14 exams were taken by Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students (6 took AP CS A and 8 took AP CSP).
  • Only 544 schools in TX (28% of TX schools with AP programs) offered an AP Computer Science course in 2019-2020 (20% offered AP CS A and 20% offered AP CSP), which is 38 more than the previous year. There are fewer AP exams taken in computer science than in any other STEM subject area.
  • Teacher preparation programs in Texas only graduated 25 new teachers prepared to teach computer science in 2018.
  • According to a representative survey from Google/Gallup, school administrators in TX support expanding computer science education opportunities: 70% of principals surveyed think CS is just as or more important than required core classes.

What can you do to support K-12 CS education in Texas?

Code.org's impact in Texas

  • In Texas, Code.org’s curriculum is used in
    • 15% of elementary schools
    • 19% of middle schools
    • 13% of high schools
  • There are 57,199 teacher accounts and 2,072,167 student accounts on Code.org in Texas.
  • Of students in Texas using Code.org curriculum last school year,
    • 63% attend high needs schools
    • 21% are in rural schools
    • 43% are female students
    • 64% are students from marginalized racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in computer science (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Native American/Alaskan, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander)
  • Code.org, its regional partner(s) Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University School Mathematics Project, and 33 facilitators have provided professional learning in Texas for
    • 10,400 teachers in CS Fundamentals (K-5)
    • 297 teachers in Exploring Computer Science or Computer Science Discoveries
    • 227 teachers in Computer Science Principles

What can your state do to improve computer science education?

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 https://code.org/files/Making_CS_Fundamental.pdf and see our rubric for describing state policies at http://bit.ly/9policiesrubric.
State Plan - Texas is in the process of creating a plan for K–12 computer science that includes goals, strategies, and timelines, as required by HB 2984 (2019).
K-12 Standards - Texas does not yet have rigorous computer science standards publicly available across K-12. Computer science has often been confused with broader technology education in schools. The state could strengthen its computer science programs by publicly adopting discrete standards for computer science focused on both the creation and use of software and computing technologies at all levels of K-12 education. These standards can be guided by the concepts, practices, and recommendations in the K-12 Computer Science Framework, found at http://www.k12cs.org.
Funding - Although Texas does not yet provide dedicated state funding for computer science professional development, HB 3 and HB 963 (2019) consolidated all computer science (or technology applications) courses into CTE and allowed schools to receive weighted funding for students enrolled in those courses in grades 7–12.
Certification - In Texas, teachers with or without existing licensure can obtain an 8–12 certification by completing a state-approved teacher preparation program and passing certification exams.
Pre-Service Programs - The Texas Education Agency has approved teacher preparation programs leading to certification in computer science and lists these programs publicly.
Dedicated State Position - Texas does not yet have dedicated computer science positions in state or local education agencies. Creating a statewide computer science leadership position within the state education agency can help expand state-level implementation of computer science education initiatives. Similar positions at the local level could support districts’ expansion of course offerings and professional development.
Require High Schools to Offer - The Texas State Board of Education added computer science courses to the list of required offerings at high schools (19 TAC § 74.3) in 2014.
Count Towards Graduation - In Texas, AP Computer Science A, IB Computer Science Higher Level, or discrete math can count as a required mathematics course for graduation. Computer science can also count as an advanced science credit, and multiple course options can satisfy the foreign language requirement.
IHE Admission - Computer science can count as the fourth mathematics credit required for admission at institutions of higher education in Texas.

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Launched in 2013, Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented youth. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.


Data is from the Conference Board for job demand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics for state salary and national job projections data, the College Board for AP exam data, the National Center for Education Statistics for university graduate data, the Gallup and Google research study Education Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools for parent demand, the 2018 Computer Science Access Report for schools that offer computer science, and Code.org for its own courses, professional learning programs, and participation data.