Can policymakers level the playing field in the computer sciences? | The TechTank Podcast

U.S. President Barack Obama talks with Adrianna Mitchell a student from Newark, New Jersey, taking part in an "Hour of Code"? event at the White House in Washington December 8, 2014.

In this technological age, workforce demands for computer science (CS) skills have evolved and keep evolving. Demand for CS specialists have evolved across all fields, improving job and compensation prospects for those with experience in programming and data science. In turn, states schools have worked to incorporate CS into the K-12 public school curriculum to better prepare students for the workforce of the future.

It is integral to center the deployment of equitable policies as states evaluate the continued expansion of CS education. The existing tech workforce is filled with disparities, underrepresenting marginalized groups such as Black, Brown, and Native populations who suffer from unequal access to digital literacy and computer science education. In turn, this perpetuates existing social inequities, while the rollout of biased technologies go unchecked as development teams lack the lived experiences to spot the unintended consequences of new technologies.

On TechTank, host Nicol Turner Lee is joined by Michael Hansen, senior fellow at the Brown Center on Education Policy and the Herman and George R. Brown Chair of Governance Studies at Brookings; Nicolas Zerbino, research analyst at Brookings’s Brown Center on Education Policy; and Kimberly Scott, Professor of Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University and the Founding Executive Director of ASU’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology. Together, the experts discuss what is needed to expanded computer science education and make sure that all students can participate and succeed in the educational fields and economies of the future. They will also be discussing a recently-released report authored by Hansen and Zerbino, “Exploring the state of computer science education amid rapid policy expansion”.

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TechTank is a biweekly podcast from The Brookings Institution exploring the most consequential technology issues of our time. From artificial intelligence and racial bias in algorithms, to Big Tech, the future of work, and the digital divide, TechTank takes abstract ideas and makes them accessible. Moderators Dr. Nicol Turner Lee and Darrell West speak with leading technology experts and policymakers to share new data, ideas, and policy solutions to address the challenges of our new digital world.