A blog from Code.org. We're a non-profit dedicated to giving every student in every school the opportunity to learn computer programming.
Chicago just became the first US city to make computer science a core subject
Today Chicago becomes the first major city in the United States to announce it will make computer science a graduation requirement for all high schools after a vote by the School Board.
Every student deserves to learn how software and computers work and gain skills to help them pursue the best opportunities in any future career. At a time when computer science is only offered in a quarter of American schools — with black and Hispanic students and girls especially underrepresented in the field as early as high school — this news is a major step in ensuring that every student in the nation’s 3rd-largest school district will leave school with a foundation for success.
This decision has been years in-the-making. Chicago was one of the first cities to introduce a nationally recognized course Exploring Computer Science to high schools in 2011 through a National Science Foundation grant. In December 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a 5-year plan to make computer science a core subject and Code.org partnered with Chicago Public Schools to provide curriculum and prepare existing teachers to support it.
Courses established in partnership with Code.org are already reaching more diverse students (34% of students are female and 60% are black or Hispanic). Curriculum is specifically designed to engage students who may not typically gravitate to the field.
There is still hard work to be done. About half of Chicago’s 106 public high schools now offer computer science, with courses available in a portion of K-8 schools. The city will need additional funding to roll out courses to every school.
Code.org is proud to continue to work with CS4All and other partners to help all Chicago students access this foundational 21st-century field and excited to see the city set an example today.