Although California has the highest growing and number of open jobs in the computer science field, there is no dedicated state funding for CS PD, does not require all high schools to offer CS, or have any K-12 curriculum standards.

  • Most confuse CS as basic computer literacy. In California, only 34% of principals surveyed correctly identified computer literacy activities as not computer science (U.S. average 33%).
  • CS offerings are limited, with 33% of California principals reporting offering CS classes with programming and coding (U.S. average 26%).
  • CS offerings often appeal to and serve a subset of students. California principals report CS students are most commonly White and, when compared to the U.S. average, are more often Hispanic or Asian but less often Black. To help prepare schools for CS education, the study also identified challenges to providing CS education for all students in California.
  • Parents’ demand for CS is not heard; 91% of U.S. parents want their child to learn CS, whereas only 9% of California principals believed there was high demand for CS (U.S. average 7%).
  • Principals perceive low school board and staff support for CS in California at 40% (U.S. average 37%).
  • Lack of teachers trained in CS (55%), not enough budget for a CS teacher (53%), and lack of necessary computer software (46%)

Only 16% of schools in California teach AP Computer Science and only 10,244 students took the AP exam in 2014. Of those students, only 27% were female (56% of AP test takers were female) and 1,657 of them were underrepresented minorities.


Although the number of schools and test takers are low, California has done significant amount of work to increase their numbers. Among California graduates, 30.2% of seniors earned at least a passing score of 3 (which qualifies them to earn college credit) which is a significant increase from 2005’s statistic of only 18.6%. In fact, California’s exam performance of 2015 is 7.8% higher than the national average and was sixth in the nation in computer science.

According to Google’s California Computer Science Education report, the most people cannot correctly identify between computer science and computer literacy (33% of principals mistake computer literacy for computer science). Parents’ wishes are also not being heard, where 91% of parents wish for their kids to learn computer science but 33% of schools are reported to offer them.