Computer Science Is Now A High School Graduation Requirement In Chicago’s Public School District

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Following a unanimous vote by the Chicago Public School Board of Education, computer science will become a graduation requirement for all high school students in what is the nation’s third largest school district. Starting with next school year’s class of freshmen (class of 2020), students in Chicago Public Schools will be required to complete curriculum around computer science before graduating.

This has been a long time coming. Back in December 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a five-year plan to make CS a core subject taught in schools, and partnered with Code.org around providing the curriculum and preparing teachers to make that possible.

“Making sure that our students are exposed to STEM and computer science opportunities early on is critical in building a pipeline to both college to career,” Emanuel said in a release today. “Requiring computer science as a core requirement will ensure that our graduates are proficient in the language of the 21st century so that they can compete for the jobs of the future.”

Currently, computer science is only offered in 25% of schools across the nation. In Chicago, 107 schools have implemented CS curriculum, 41 of which are high schools, according to the district’s press release.

The Chicago Public School district is working with Code.org and other organizations to further develop a CS education curriculum to implement across all its high schools. Of the courses created in partnership with Code.org, 37% of the students are black or Hispanic and 43% are female. Nationwide, President Barack Obama currently has a $4 billion proposal on the table to bring computer science education to all K-12 schools across the nation.