We quickly found that Oregon had a serious graduation problem. Back in 2010, we were ranked 45th in the country for graduation rates. Nine years later, we are ranked 49th. Most people are shocked when we share this reality with them. Oregon?
Yes. The sad joke is that we are called the Mississippi of the West, except that Mississippi has a higher graduation rate.
So we started researching how our current education system was preparing the next generation of makers and creators in this technology-enabled economy. We started by looking at computer science education in our K-12 system.
What we found astonished us. Our teaching capacity in this area was not only paltry but chaotic as well.
Based on the number of classes on offer, we could reach less than 5% of our students with an important skill needed for the new economy. On top of that, there was no consistency in what was being taught. It was all over the map – defined by the personal interest of an individual teacher.
We also discovered that the Portland School District, Oregon’s largest with fifty thousand students, had only one computer science teacher.
While we had a talent crisis in industry, we discovered that the system also had a crisis of capacity. We were in deep trouble.
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