A tweet from @ECEP_CS on June 4, 2020
As a member of the national Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) alliance, broadening participation in computing with a focus on equity is the foundation of our organization. We champion the development of K-16 computer science education pathways and approach this work with a critical lens and a focus on bias and the historic exclusion of students with disabilities, and of Black, Hispanic/Latino/a/x, Indigenious, English learner, immigrant, and female students in computing. Research and history highlight how computer science has disproportionately left out students with disabilities and students of color by creating systemic and structural barriers, such as tracking, lack of access, lack of culturally relevant curriculum and equitable pedagogical strategies, un(der)prepared teachers, prerequisites, and other implicit and explicit obstacles. In her presentation, “Critical Race Theory in CS Education,” Shana V. White highlights some of the ways whiteness shows itself in computer science including that the majority of computer science teachers in the US are white and male, and the high percentage of cis-female, Black, and Hispanic students that have never had a teacher tell them they would be good at computer science.
Minnesota’s significant racial/ethnic student opportunity gaps and underrepresentation of teachers of color in K-12 education are exacerbated and visible in computer science education. The CSforAll-MN steering committee, working with its advisory committee, is committed to continuing our own education on anti-racist practices, and deepening our own learning and understanding of how biases, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy present in computing spaces. We support Minnesota teachers, administrators, and policymakers in this work, and will continue to advocate for equity in computing.
In order to hold ourselves accountable and to ensure we are taking action steps to dismantle inequitable structures, we have developed actionable items for our three organizational commitments to aid in the establishment of equitable computer science education in Minnesota:
In closing, we echo the national ECEP leadership team:
“We must challenge each other and ourselves to dig deeper into understanding race, privilege, inequitable systems, and the roles we each play in these systems. We must hold ourselves and each other accountable to change. We must stand with other computer science educators, researchers, and advocates of color who have for far too long been engaged in this work on their own. ECEP’s work addresses only a small slice of the effort required to dismantle systems of institutional bias that are pervasive throughout our culture and educational institutions. But every one of us has a vital role to play in confronting and correcting the structural racism that represents the original sin of the American experiment. Thank you for committing to this journey with us. And for our Black colleagues specifically, thank you for walking with us, teaching us, leading us, and holding us all accountable as we navigate these waters. We can’t walk in your shoes but we can listen, we can learn, we can work to identify our own privileges, and we can make the space for frank and honest feedback when our organization falls short. “
CSforAll-MN examines equity through Minnesota’s capacity for, access to, participation in, and experience of CS education (Fletcher & Warner, 2019) to better understand areas for improvement in order to ensure all students are learning CS. We look forward to collaboratively learning, growing, and championing computer science pathways for our students with disabilities and our Black, Hispanic/Latino/a/x, Indigenous, English learner, immigrant, and female students.
Revised: November 11, 2020