It is Computer Science Education Week and many of the other blogs and people I follow on twitter have been linking to the Code.org video and resources. Codecademy released a neat iOS application as well. However despite all this hoopla I was surprised to learn how far there is to go.
I looked up the statistics for the AP Computer Science A exam in Connecticut for 2013 and discovered that only 413 students took the exam. Among those students only 89 were women. In spite of the hoopla inside the entreprenuerial circles about coding and code education, it does not seem to be reaching outside the bubble.
When I was in high school I got together with a few friends and convinced a science teacher to teach us AP Computer Science so we could take the exam. We gave-up a study hall session to be able to take the class since it was outside the normal class blocks. Sometimes grassroots energy works.
However students are not going to ask for it if they are not familiar with coding. Students need exposure to it through after-school programs or other projects. Schools need to make sure it is an option for them. Otherwise we will conitnue to have a shortage of people with these skills.