We quickly found that Oregon had a serious graduation problem. Back in 2010, we were ranked 45th in the country for graduation rates. Today 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 than us.
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 K12 system.
What we found shocked us. Our teaching capacity in this area was not only paltry, it was completely chaotic.
With our current teaching capacity, 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 solely by the personal interest of an individual teacher.
We also discovered that, at the time, we had only one computer science teacher in the entire Portland school district, Oregon's largest district with almost fifty thousand students.
While we had a talent crisis in industry, we soon discovered that the system had a crisis of capacity. We were screwed.