We’ve been trying a big ambitious experiment in NYC over the last five years. We are training over 5,000 teachers to teach computer science classes in elementary school, middle school, and high school. We call it CS4All.
It sounds simple, but it is anything but simple. And it is expensive. We are funding it via public private partnership. I am leading the private part via a $40mm capital campaign. Talk to me about that if you are interested.
But here’s the thing. If you want to see engineering teams that are 50/50 male/female, and representative of our racial makeup (black, hispanic, etc, etc), if you want true equity and diversity in our workforces, then you simply have to do one thing:
Give the education/training/skills to EVERYONE.
And we are seeing the outcomes now that we are approaching our fifth year of this effort.
The NY Post (The NYC Mayor’s biggest critic) wrote this article about the performance and representation of young women in the AP Computer Science exams last spring.
Just 379 girls took the exam in 2016, compared with 2,155 last year, according to the department. That means that 42 percent of all city kids who took the AP exam were girls — compared with just 28 percent nationwide.
And the female students aren’t just sitting for the tests in far higher numbers — they’re conquering them at an accelerated rate as well.
In 2016, only 177 New York City girls passed an AP computer-science exam, officials said. In 2018, 1,266 earned the distinction.
I am a huge fan of efforts directed at teaching young women to code, things like Girls Who Code. They are amazing resources for young women and they are part of why these numbers are moving in the right direction.
But I have always believed, and these numbers give me even more conviction, that the best way to get equity for everyone is to include everyone. Pretty simple really.