Today marks the first day of Computer Science Education Week and to get things kicked off, educators, schools and even the White House made commitments to get more kids interested in computer science and programming.
Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama stressed the importance of growing computer science education for elementary and high school students. This year, that commitment is growing as others are stepping up and making similar commitments.
As part of this year's Computer Science Education Week, seven of the largest school districts in the country, along with 50 more, will start offering computer science classes to all of their students. Those districts cover New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Houston and Fort Lauderdale, all of them pledging to offer computer science courses to both middle and high school students, starting within the next few years.
The College Board is starting a new course called AP Computer Science Principles. Also, over 20,000 elementary school teachers are receiving over $20 million in donations from donors such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Google and Microsoft for training for the school year beginning in Fall 2015. Educators also hope to get more women and minorities interested in computer science, too, by offering outreach efforts, both in and out of the classroom.
Last week, the White House partnered with Google to offer kids, many of them girls, the chance to program the lights on the White House Christmas trees this month.
"While no one is born a computer scientist, becoming a computer scientist isn't as scary as it sounds," says President Obama. "With hard work and a little math and science, anyone can do it."
The President also invited 30 students to the White House for an "Hour of Code," which will include millions of other people around the world attending similar events online. These programs will teach kids the basics of computer coding.
"By 2020, more than 50 percent of STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. If current trends continue, 1.4 million computer science-related jobs will be available over the next ten years, but only 400,000 computer science graduates will be added with the skills to apply for those jobs," writes the White House in a press release. "Yet a large majority of K-12 schools do not offer any computer programming classes, and in 25 out of 50 states, computer science classes cannot count towards math and science high school graduation requirements."
[Photo Credit: Wiki Commons]