Just 8 months ago, in his final State of the Union Address and subsequent weekly address, President Obama set a bold goal—every American student should have the opportunity to learn computer science (CS).
The President’s case was simple. More than nine in ten parents want CS taught at their child’s school and yet, by some estimates, only a quarter of K-12 schools offer a CS course with programming included. However, the need for such skills across industries continues to grow rapidly, with 51 percent of all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs projected to be in a CS-related field by 2018.
In addition, students who take computer science are not only learning a marketable skill, they are become computational thinkers and problem-solvers. As Adrian Avalos, from National City, California, shared:
My course and my CS teacher, Mr. Lopez, really taught me about collaborative learning and learning by teaching. Mr. Lopez would always say, "To teach is to learn" as we worked in pairs to create programs that would perform tasks so we could master the material and concepts we were learning about.
In AP Computer Science Principles, I learned the importance of "abstraction", meaning to break a challenge into manageable pieces, and have applied this concept into various aspects of my studies and my life outside of the classroom. Mr. Lopez would also challenge my peers and I to go deeper into the code, to visualize and predict what the computer would do when we would press "Run Program" to train us to think computationally. He would always say with a big, friendly smile "Computers are very picky" and ask us the right questions about our code so we could troubleshoot and get it to work properly.
Since the President’s call to action, strong momentum for CS education has been growing at all levels of government and in the private sector.
Tune in at 1PM to learn more and follow along at #CSforAll, and learn about all of the progress and announcements here. And if you have a commitment you want to make to support CS education, learn more here.
The Summit caps off a week of Administration action to support STEM and CS education, from the celebration of more than 200 Presidential STEM teachers awardees for STEM teaching and announcement of Active Learning Day last Thursday, the Vice-President’s visit to LaunchCode in support of #TechHire last Friday, a day-long event in support of Next-Generation High Schools that are leading on new economy subjects like CS this Monday, a back-to-school bus tour stop focusing on STEM education by Secretary of Education John King, and a new set of STEM teacher resources released by the Department of Education on Tuesday.
Ruthe Farmer is the Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.