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Computer Science Diversity Gap

            Some alarming statistics find that, in 2013, not a single African American students took AP computer science exam in 11 states and no Hispanic students tested in 8 states. Among the 30,000 students who took AP computer science test, only around 10 percent of them are African American and Hispanic students (Heitin, 2014, para.2-3). The statistics are alarming but unsurprising, because computer science is historically dominated by White and Asian males. Although everyone knows that computer science industry is one of the most promising area, we may want to figure out why so few students of color are taking computer science classes. Is it simply due to the boring material and unqualified teacher? Or the race gap reflects bigger problem embedded in our education system.
             Most students of color are not well prepared for college computer science learning due to the structural barriers in educational access and opportunities. According to Margolis's study in three schools in the Los Angles, students of color are lack of access to equitable school funding, facilities, skilled teacher. So schools predominated by Latino and black students only offer introductory computer courses. These courses only teach students about the rudimentary skills required by information age like power point and word processing (Margolis, 2008, p.50-54). In fact, this phenomenon is common in almost every state. Rigorous computer programming courses are more likely to be offered by suburban and private schools than urban and poor schools which usually are predominated by students of color (Heitin, 2014, para.11). In addition, computer science is a field derived from mathematics and physical science. However, as a result of the opportunity disparity, African American and Latino students demonstrate much lower proficiency rate in both science and mathematics than their White and Asian peers (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011), which further prevent them becoming competent in computer science field.

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