In January, President Obama announced a new initiative called Computer Science for All, which proposed over $4 billion in funding for schools across the US to increase their computer science offerings. The President’s aim with this initiative is to empower a generation of American students to learn the technology skills they will need to become creators, not just consumers, in our digital world. Sounds familiar to us!
The proposal was submitted as part of President Obama’s budget for his final year in office. According to the proposal, funding would be distributed to states that submit plans to expand their computer science offerings for K-12 students. Schools can use the funds for projects such as training additional technology education teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective partnerships with technology companies and organizations.
Only a quarter of K-12 schools currently offer computer science classes that teach programming or coding, and only 28 out of the 50 states allow those courses to count towards high school graduation requirements, according to the White House.
We’re excited to see schools expand and improve their computer science programs through this initiative, and we applaud the President for recognizing the importance of technology education for kids. After all, he was the first President to ever write a line of code! Technology education provides numerous advantages for kids, including:
- Literacy for the digital age: Technology is an integral part of almost all industries, from healthcare to transportation. Accordingly, proficient technology skills and knowledge are critical assets for students’ future economic opportunity and social mobility.
- Job readiness: In 2015, there were more than 600,000 high-paying technology jobs unfilled, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields, according to the White House. Today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers, programmers, and entrepreneurs, and they will need a solid technology foundation in order to be successful.
- Real-life skills: Technology education offers great benefits to students that translate to real life, regardless of career path. From problem solving to critical thinking, using and learning to create using technology helps kids acquire skills that will help them in their educational, professional, and personal pursuits.
We’re excited to see how Computer Science for All impacts the future of our students and our country. Before schools are able to reap the benefits of the new funding, though, here are some ways to enrich your kid’s technology education outside of the classroom.