Obama calls for computer science expansion in schools

In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama discussed the progress he’s made on numerous issues, including in the field of education. NprEd tells us that Obama shared his goal of computer science expansion in schools in the U.S..

President Obama said, “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 one day.”

Fewer than 10 percent of America’s high schools teach Computer Science, and many of those courses don’t include coding as part of their curriculum. Some teach just the basics of Microsoft Office or search engine use and still call the course “computer science.” This computer science expansion in schools would include coding, and other cutting-edge skills that the next generation of workers will need to know to compete on the world stage.

Dan Garcia, a Computer Science professor at University of California, Berkeley, tells NprEd that he spends his time working out ways to teach computer science to everyone. He says, “We have a crisis in this country that we don’t have enough computer science teachers. Well trained, engaging computer science teachers. We just need more bodies.”

He points out that computer science doesn’t have a spot in the school-day schedule. It’s vying for a spot in a crowded curriculum.

Seven of the country’s largest school districts have vowed computer science expansion in schools and better access to it. These school districts include Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.

Also, Microsoft is expanding its TEALS program – a successful program that launched in 2011. The program pairs trained computer science professionals with classroom teachers to team-teach and support Computer Science education in high school classes throughout the United States.

College is simply too late for young people to learn the basics of computer science and this push for computer science expansion in schools is necessary in an increasingly tech-savvy global workplace.

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