New York City’s public schools have made dramatic progress in expanding access to computer science education. Eight years after the launch of the Computer Science for All initiative, at least 91% of district schools now offer classes where students can start learning the principles of computing.

But while more schools are offering computer science than ever before, the majority of city students — in particular, Black and Hispanic students, low-income students and girls — still aren’t taking computer science courses. Just 17% of schools meet the program’s student participation and equity goals.

To ensure that thousands more New York City students can get on the path to well-paying technology-powered careers, this will have to change.

New research from the Center for an Urban Future suggests that this will be possible only by training more future teachers, at all grade levels and in every subject, to integrate into their classrooms the core concepts of computing education: the ability to ask questions, organize data and solve problems with computers.

Although engagement with computer science is highest when the concepts are woven throughout the curriculum, and when multiple teachers in a school have the training to implement those concepts and support computer learning, most schools still have just one or two teachers with computer education training.

A new program at the City University of New York is ready-made to address that need. The Computing Integrated Teacher Education (CITE) program, launched with funding from the Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund, Google, Gotham Gives and NYC Public Schools, trains future teachers to use computing concepts in a broad range of subjects, from social studies to science, and at every grade level.

CITE works by engaging CUNY faculty to build computing and digital literacy into required education courses and student teaching practice. More than just a one-off workshop or seminar, the initiative is a year-round effort to help CUNY’s education faculty develop the skills needed to train future teachers in equitable, culturally relevant computing pedagogy. Crucially, CITE also supports groundbreaking faculty research on topics ranging from integrating computing concepts into early-childhood education to building digital literacy curricula for special education teachers.

Training new teachers at CUNY has the greatest potential to meet the shortfall. NYC’s public schools have made progress in providing professional development in computing education to more than 4,000 classroom teachers since 2015. But in a system with more than 75,000 educators and significant turnover, that’s just a drop in the bucket.

Read the full article about training educators for STEM education by Rita Joseph and Eli Dvorkin at The 74.