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 1,000 open computing jobs, with an average annual salary of over $79,000. This is significantly higher than the average salary in the state of $45,300. These existing open jobs alone represent an $85,377,720 opportunity in terms of annual salaries. Further, 58% of new STEM jobs are in computing occupations, and is a part of every industry including healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology.
However, Maine is only one of eight states that does not count computer science courses toward high school graduation requirements, and one of three states that does not follow any of the nine recommendations from the Code.org Advocacy Coalition. The facts continue to get even more alarming! Fewer than 30% of Maine K-12 schools offer computer science education, while only 23 schools in Maine offered an AP Computer Science course in 2016-17. Only 246 Maine students took an AP Computer Science exam in 2017, which is fewer than any other STEM subject area.
We have also seen low levels of participation in computer science education among traditionally underrepresented students. For example, of the 246 AP Computer Science exams taken in 2017, only 20% were taken by female students. Further, only 8 exams were taken by Hispanic or Latino students; only 1 exam was taken by American Indian or Alaska Native Students; and no exams were taken by Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students.