Computer Science for Maine (CS4Maine) believes that all Maine students, including those who have traditionally been underrepresented, should have access to computer science education. At a time when computing occupations are the number one source of all new wages in the U.S., we believe that Maine students need the same access to high-quality computer science education as students from other states.
Our goal is to ensure that computer science is a subject area offered to all Maine K-12 students.
To accomplish our goal, we want Maine to meet the following objectives:
- Fund computer science professional development for teachers
- Offer computer science in all high schools by 2022
- Offer computer science learning opportunities in all grade levels by 2025
- Allow computer science courses to count toward high school graduation requirements across the state
- Determine and implement appropriate K-12 computer science standards
Maine currently has over 800 open computing jobs, with an average annual salary of over $81,000. This is significantly higher than the average salary in the state of $46,810. These existing open jobs alone represent a $68,276,687 opportunity in terms of annual salaries. Further, 58% of new STEM jobs are in computing occupations, which are a part of every industry including healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology.
Despite this high level of demand, in 2018 Maine awarded only 152 bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science. Only 56% of Maine public high schools teach a foundational computer science course. Worse yet, only 34 schools in Maine (27% of Maine schools with AP programs) offered an AP Computer Science course in 2019.
We have also seen low levels of participation in computer science education among traditionally underrepresented students. For example, of the 152 bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2018, only 18% were to female students. Only 333 students took an AP Computer Science exam in 2019, which is fewer than any other STEM subject area. Of these, only 23% were female students. Further, only 7 exams were taken by Hispanic or Latino students; only 2 exams were taken by American Indian or Alaska Native Students; and 1 exam was taken by Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students.
Maine currently implements only three of the nine recommendations from the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, all three of which were implemented in the last year. In 2020 Maine adopted a state plan, established a computer science specialist position, and established a policy for students to count computer science towards graduation (although this is a decision made at the district level).