White House Computer Science for All Summit

Author : Guest Blogger
Date : September 2, 2018

The United States joined the worldwide push for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education earlier this year when President Obama announced his U.S. Computer Science for All (CS for All) initiative. The program aims to provide high quality computer science education for all K-12 students, pledging more than $4 billion in support to numerous programs over a multi-year period.

On the 14th of last month, the CS for All Summit brought representatives from more than 200 private-sector organizations together with White House representatives to discuss progress and plan ways to expand computer science education.

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Overcoming Obstacles

When explaining the motivation for adding a computer science curriculum for all students, policy makers point to economic predictions about the growth of high-paying technology jobs. But there are always practical hurdles in implementing wide-ranging changes like the ones proposed by CS for All.

The most obvious is the need to build a bridge between educators and technology experts. Tech companies are not necessarily aware of how to best structure materials to reach students, and educators are not technology experts. Members of these diverse groups need to work together to develop high-quality coursework for all grade levels, and this will take time to create and test.

Hiring practices at major tech corporations are another obstacle. If the goal is to make computer science training available to everyone, there needs to be more diversity in hiring and more opportunities for minorities and women in the tech world.

These types of problems aren’t easy to overcome, but acknowledging them and building government/private-sector partnerships to work together is the first step. Here are some of the first programs to come out of the CS for All Initiative:

Teaching and Coursework

The College Board, a not-for-profit organization designed to help students prepare for college success, announced the launch of their advanced placement course called Computer Science Principles (AP CSP). This class is designed to teach high achieving students the skills they need to become leaders in science and technology.

Other private initiatives included more than $250 million in support from more than 100 organizations. The money will be used for teacher training events, scholarships for children to attend coding bootcamps, and funding aimed at bringing improving technology opportunities for girls and minority students.

Creating Connections

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CSNYC, a non-profit dedicated to providing computer science education opportunities for New York City public schools, launched the CSforAll Consortium. Designed to build a national network of computer science educators, the Consortium’s website promises the help schools and individual families connect with local resources.

The goal of CS for All is not to turn all students into programmers. Every industry is influenced by technology, and learning computational thinking can benefit all students. By offering computer science as a broad discipline to students across all age groups, the CS for All initiative aims to make computer science a basic skill like literacy and critical thinking.

Computer programming can help students better understand their world while providing them with a creative outlet and a boost for their future. Junior Coders offers classes for children as young as 6 all the way through the 12th grade. Contact us to learn more about our offerings and how we can inspire your future programmer.

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