Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field. This week is held in recognition of the birthday of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906), who invented the first compiler and coined the term “bug” (an error in a program) after removing an actual moth from a computer in 1947.
Social justice, as a concept, arose in the early 19th century primarily focused on economics- capital, property, and the distribution of wealth. By the mid-20th century, social justice expanded from being primarily concerned with economics to include other spheres of social life including the environment, race, gender, and other causes and manifestations of inequality.
Now, the concept of social justice often refers to human rights, centered around improving the lives of groups historically marginalized based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion and disability.
As part of the #CSforGood movement, we decided to shine a light on how Computer Science can serve as a catalyst for social justice. #CSforSocialJustice
Without access to rigorous computer science and STEM courses, underrepresented students have limited opportunities and aspirations to develop computing knowledge.
History of CSEdWeek
Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) was founded as a call to action to raises awareness about the need to elevate computer science education at all levels and to underscore the critical role of computing in all careers.
The first CSEdWeek was launched by ACM on December 6–12, 2009. It was a joint effort led and funded by ACM with the cooperation and deep involvement of CSTA, NCWIT, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), the Computing Research Association (CRA), Google, Inc., Intel, and Microsoft. ACM’s Education Policy Committee worked closely with Congressmen Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and Jared Polis (D-CO) to introduce a Congressional Resolution recognizing the first CSEdWeek. Congressman Ehlers introduced the resolution after being alerted to declining enrollments in computer science studies by Professor Joel Adams of the Department of Computer Science at Calvin College. The intent is CSEdWeek will be celebrated each year during the week of Grace Hopper’s birthday on December 9.
CSEdWeek became an activity of the Computing in the Core (a non-partisan advocacy coalition of associations, corporations, scientific societies, and other non-profits that strive to elevate computer science education to a core academic subject in K-12 education) when the coalition launched in 2010. In the initial years, CSEdWeek was steered by the Executive Committee of Computing in the Core, with a rotating chair appointed by the Committee to coordinate the activities of the week. The computer science community owes these leaders for their tireless effort behind the early success of CSEdWeek.
ACM and NSF funded the 2nd annual CSEdWeek Chaired by Deborah Richardson. Other partners included Microsoft, Google, CSTA, NCWIT, IEEE Computer Society, CRA, College Board, ABI, SAS, NCTM, NSTA, NMSI, Intel, Oracle, WGBH and DARPA.
Whereas the first CSEdWeek was primarily focused on policy issues and policy makers, organizers recognized the goal of moving computing into the core of K-12 education could better be achieved with a wide variety of stakeholders on board. Thus, Chairwoman Debra Richardson sought to make CSEdWeek 2010 targeted at broader audience: K-12 students; K-12 computer science teachers and non-CS K-12 teachers; parents of K-12 students; community organizations affiliated with K-12 aged students; administrators and counselors in the K-12 community; students, faculty and staff in higher education; and CS & IT industrial organizations and their corporate professionals. CSEdWeek 2010 achieved the goal of engaging students and teachers as well as the computing community at large with a wide diversity of events and activities held around the world to advocate for computer science education.
Since 2010, CSEdWeek has continued to grow. In 2012, Computing in the Core appointed Ruthe Farmer as the 2nd Chair of Computer Science Education Week. Through her efforts, CSEdWeek expanded in reach and partners participating in activities during the week.
In July of 2013, the Computing in the Core coalition members agreed to allow Code.org to organize that year’s CSEdWeek around a new idea and theme, the “Hour of Code.” At the time, this fledgling idea showed a lot of promise, and Code.org was willing to provide the operational support and a tenfold increase in funding in order to grow the week from hundreds of events reaching thousands of students, instead aiming for tens of thousands of events reaching millions of students. That year, the first “Hour of Code” themed CSEdWeek reached over 15 million students and over 35,000 events across 167 countries.
In January of 2014, the executive committee of Computing in the Core (ACM, CSTA, NCWIT, IEEE-CS, Google, and Microsoft) voted unanimously to maintain the Hour of Code theme as the centerpiece of the week, and for Code.org to continue shepherding this open grassroots celebration of computer science.
One year later, in January of 2015, the Hour of Code reached 100 million “hours served,” making the Hour of Code and CS Education Week the largest education campaign in history.
In 2020, CSTA began coordinating CSEdWeek, and Code.org continues to organize the Hour of Code. As originally conceptualized, CSEdWeek remains a community-led effort that is only possible thanks to a large number of cooperating partners.
The Computer Science Teachers Association's (CSTA) mission is to empower, engage and advocate for K-12 computer science teachers worldwide. CSTA is a membership organization which supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines.