President Obama, on Jan. 30, pledged $4 billion in funding for computer science education in the nation‚Äôs schools.
The¬†Computer Science for All Initiative slated for the president‚Äôs forthcoming budget plan would include an additional $100 million that would go directly to school districts to fund computer science programs.
Under the president‚Äôs plan, the Department of Education will divide the $4 billion over three years to¬†states that propose well-designed five-year plans to increase computer science access in classrooms. Along with¬†billions in federal funding, the¬†initiative also includes commitments from philanthropists and some of the country‚Äôs largest tech companies to¬†help increase¬†opportunities for computer science training,¬†especially for underrepresented groups.
‚ÄúOur economy is rapidly shifting, and educators and business leaders are increasingly recognizing that CS is a ‚Äėnew basic‚Äô skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility,‚ÄĚ the White House said.
The¬†initiative comes after President Obama highlighted the need for better computer science¬†education in his 2016 State of the Union address.
By some estimates, just one-fourth of K-12 schools in the U.S. offer computer science coursework that includes¬†coding. Only 28 states allow computer science courses to count towards high school graduation, and many districts¬†struggle to make the field a priority.¬†Meanwhile, the demand for such skills is only increasing.¬†Jobs in computing are growing at¬†twice the national rate of other types of jobs. By 2020,¬†according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1 million more computer science-related jobs than graduating students qualified to fill them.
A significant part of the strategy to expand the pool of qualified applicants is to work harder to reach students who have historically lacked access to computers and computer training.¬†The¬†$100 million for districts will come in the form of competitive grants that reward¬†ambitious efforts to expand computer science¬†education in ways that reach as many students as possible, with the ultimate hope of finding a template that could work nationwide.
Read more at Wired.