Reaching for “All”: Understanding the challenges and needs of schools lagging in CS for all efforts
Over the last decade, substantial strides have been made in the CS for All movement, including the enactment of policies that promote the widespread implementation of CS education. Despite this, at the current rate of growth, it is estimated that it will take four decades to actually reach CS for all. This sobering finding highlights the urgent need to understand why so many schools are lagging in implementation, and to identify solutions that could address this gap.
Using school-level survey data and administrative school records, we investigate the barriers to scaling up CS education in a large urban school district. Common to many school reform initiatives, some schools were early adopters and eagerly embraced the call to provide CS to all students. Others, despite years of effort and support, had yet to offer CS or were only serving a small percentage of their enrollment. Our findings suggest that while normative perceptions of CS are similar between lower- and higher-implementing schools, some technical challenges to implementation—specifically the lack of resource use—and political challenges, such as support from administrators, are greater for schools struggling to offer CS. Though these findings are from one district, they are relevant to the many others engaged in CS for all efforts. This study builds on previous research by shedding light on the distinct challenges and needs of “lagging” schools, and provides insight into effective strategies for bringing CS education to All.