Last year, there were more than 600,000 high-paying jobs across a variety of industries in the United States that were unfilled, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in Computer Science-related fields.
According to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, in 22 states,
computer science still doesn’t count toward high school graduation
requirements for math or science, and 75% of schools don’t yet offer a
single high-quality computer science course. “Plus, stereotypes
perpetuated by media portrayals, unconscious bias, and outdated
classroom materials often discourage many from taking these courses —
they often ‘opt-out’ of Computer Science even when it is offered,” she
Now, President Obama has proposed a new initiative to empower students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science, equipping them with the analytical skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to apply their passion and enthusiasm to solving problems using technology.
In his weekly address on Friday, President Obama delivered the following remarks about his new initiative:
In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill – it’s a basic skill, right along with the three “Rs.” Nine out of ten parents want it taught at their children’s schools. Yet right now, only about a quarter of our K through 12 schools offer computer science. Twenty-two states don’t even allow it to count toward a diploma.
I’ve got a plan to help make sure all our kids get an opportunity to learn computer science, especially girls and minorities. It’s called Computer Science For All. And it means just what it says – giving every student in America an early start at learning the skills they’ll need to get ahead in the new economy.
First, I’m asking Congress to provide funding over the next three years so that our elementary, middle, and high schools can provide opportunities to learn computer science for all students.
Second, starting this year, we’re leveraging existing resources at the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service to train more great teachers for these courses.
And third, I’ll be pulling together governors, mayors, business leaders, and tech entrepreneurs to join the growing bipartisan movement around this cause. Americans of all kinds – from the Spanish teacher in Queens who added programming to her classes to the young woman in New Orleans who worked with her Police Chief to learn code and share more data with the community – are getting involved to help young people learn these skills. And just today, states like Delaware and Hawaii, companies like Google and SalesForce, and organizations like Code.org have made commitments to help more of our kids learn these skills.
That’s what this is all about – each of us doing our part to make sure all our young people can compete in a high-tech, global economy. They’re the ones who will make sure America keeps growing, keeps innovating, and keeps leading the world in the years ahead.
(CLICK HERE for a related article about Computer Science.)