Our Commitment to Equity

Our Commitment to Equity

“As advocates for equity in CS, we must, in both words and actions, challenge the deeply ingrained structural racism permeating our culture and our educational systems. Real and Lasting change will require ALL of us to dismantle structural inequities by engaging as allied and advocates for change.”

– @ECEP_CS, 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, Indigenous, 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.

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:

Delve Deeper to Drive Change

  • Participate in and share anti-racism professional learning opportunities, and apply new insights to CSforAll-MN efforts
  • Center equity in every CSforAll-MN meeting
  • Promote learning opportunities related to equity and computer science on our social media platform (Twitter)
  • Spread the importance of CSforAll and steps toward implementation
  • Connect with our stakeholders and promote current, relevant research around equitable computer science

Utilize Data for Action

  • Humanize data by elevating the voices, stories, and experiences of historically marginalized groups in our reports, events, and presentations
  • Gather and report disaggregated data to understand gaps in access, participation, and success by various groups in computing education in Minnesota
  • Develop strategies and recommendations to address gaps in access, participation, and success created by inequities
  • Advocate for public, meaningful state-level data on CS education that make transparent intersections among policies, structural inequalities, and student access, participation, and success

Prioritize Representation in Policy Work

  • Advocate for equity to be at the center in Minnesota policy proposals related to CS education
  • Create, implement, publish, and uphold a code of conduct that protect historically marginalized people in their involvement with CSforAll-MN
  • Identify and promote a common definition for computer science to be used to broaden participation in CS education in MN
  • Ensure that we include the voices and perspectives of diverse members of stakeholder groups from local and state communities

Equity for All

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.

“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.“

The National ECEP Leadership Team