The President Wants Every Student To Learn Computer Science. How Would That Work?
My daughter said to me Wednesday morning after the President’s State of the Union Address, “Your Interwebs are going crazy today.” It’s true. The President said that he wants every student to learn CS, which is something that we’ve been talking about for decades (as in this blog post and this book I wrote).
The NPR piece that came out Wednesday (thanks to Shuchi Grover for the link) did a nice job of touching on a wide range of issues to address in meeting this goal, and talking to people like Mitchel Resnick, Alfred Thompson, and my favorite quote, from Leigh Ann DeLyser which touches on what I think is the most critical issue — where are we going to get the teachers?
“The [teacher] pipeline is the biggest issue. There isn’t a pipeline. There’s no certification for teaching computer science [in New York]. We’re taking people who trained to be teachers and giving them some CS knowledge so they can step into a classroom and help kids. This is a Band-Aid.”
The Office of Science and Technology Policy sent out a letter the next day, amplifying the President’s remarks:
Tonight was an important step forward for students across the country, as the President said in his final State of the Union address:
“We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job. The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering. In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by providing Pre-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one, and we should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids.”
Our economy is rapidly shifting, and educators are increasingly recognizing computer science as the new basic. There are over 600,000 high-paying technology jobs open across the U.S., and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. However, computer science (CS), is taught in less than 25 percent of American K-12 schools, even as other advanced economies, such as Britain, are making it available for all students aged 5-16. In addition, students of color, girls, and students in high-need schools are less likely to take computer science than other students, and few middle school or elementary schools offer any computer science experiences.
A year ago, President Obama became the first President to write a line of code, and issued a broad call to action to expand computer science across the nation’s classrooms. Thanks to the efforts of parents, state and local officials, educators, philanthropists and CEOs, a movement to give every child the opportunity to learn computer science is building in this country.
In the coming weeks, the Administration will announce new steps to support these state and local efforts to give students of all ages the tools to not just live in the digital age, but to be the designers and leaders of it.
We look forward to working with you on this important effort to better serve our students.