President Barack Obama announced in his final State of the Union address that more “hands-on” computer science training classes were coming to our schools. A new initiative announced Saturday will send $4 billion in grants to states and $100 million in competitive grants to school districts to create a new era of fully trained students in our workforce.
The Computer Science for All Initiative
To make way for a changing economy, President Barack Obama is asking Congress for billions of dollars to change our educational system and help students learn computer science skills from an early age. Obama believes that computer science is not an optional skill in the future, but is very basic, and must be part of regular education “right along with the three R’s.”
Today, most parents want their children to learn these skills, but only about ¼ of schools offer any type of computer instruction. In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama went on to stress that everyone in today’s workforce is being exposed to computer science and coding. Amazingly, he stated that even our auto mechanics now work on cars that run 100 times more code than the space shuttle.
Obama included in the federal budget proposal for 2017 a plan to seek $4 billion in grants for states and $100 million in competitive grants for school districts over the next 3 years. The proposal goes to Congress on Feb. 9 for approval and seeks to change the way we teach computer science in our K-12 schools.
Who it Benefits
This initiative will benefit everyone. It will change the way we enter the workforce with more training in computer technology. Today the schools have problems with exploring computer science in their curriculum, and many students have little or no exposure to it until they are adults. Even sadder is that in 9 states, not a single African-American child was able to take an AP computer exam last year. Few girls took the exam. This inequality will leave these children totally unprepared for the workforce of the future.
With this initiative, these same children will have a different kind of future.
Where Will the Funds Go?
Once approved, the states would need to submit a five-year plan to show how they will use the money to successfully integrate computer science education in their schools. This has to be approved before they could access any of the $4 billion allotted by Congress. The additional $100 million, is competitive grants, and is endowed upon those school districts who lead the way with expanding computer science programs.
Additionally the funds will got towards things like training teachers, instructional materials, and “hands-on” learning for the kids in computer science in elementary and middle schools. Additionally, the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service will also provide a $135 million to the schools for teacher training.