White House Expands Computer Science Initiative

(Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

President Obama announced Wednesday that the White House will be hosting a Computer Science for All summit, and that agencies and industry partners are acting in support of computer science (CS) education.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will award $25 million in grants for CS education, the new CSforAll Consortium will assist teachers and track progress, and 200 private organizations have committed to expanding CS opportunities.

“In the coming years, we should build on that progress by…offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one,” said Obama in the 2016 State of the Union Address.

Nine out of 10 parents said that they want CS to be taught in schools; however, one quarter of all schools in the United States offer advanced computer science with programming and coding, according to a blog post from Megan Smith, U.S. chief technology officer.

By 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs will be in a CS-based field, according to a White House Fact Sheet.

“Tech careers are exciting, fun, high-impact, and collaborative as well as being critical for our economy,” Smith said. “We want all Americans to have the opportunity to be part of these teams. CS For All will help make that a reality and ensure every student has access to Computer Science in their classrooms at all levels.”

The Girl Scouts of the USA are launching a program to provide CS opportunities to 1.4 million girls annually. Also, Project Code Nodes is collaborating with the Partnership of African American Churches to start coding clubs for 70 girls in economically disadvantaged communities in Charleston, W.Va.

SignUp.com and the CSforAll Consortium are creating an “idea center” to bring CS to the SignUp.com community of 8 million parents. Also, Code.org will launch a program to teach CS to seventh- through ninth-grade students.

“Because CS is an active and applied field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning that allows students to engage in hands-on, real-world interaction with key math, science, and engineering principles, it gives students opportunities to be creators­—not just consumers—in the digital economy, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world,” Smith said.

Morgan Lynch
About Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.
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