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Fact Sheet: A Year of Action Supporting Computer Science for All

December 05, 2016

"...we have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future – which means not just being able to work with computers, but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy."

President Obama, Weekly Address, January 30, 2016.

There are half a million open technology jobs in the United States today, and that number is projected to more than double within the next 4 years. These jobs pay 50 percent more than the average private-sector job. One recent analysis of 26 million job postings found that nearly half of all the jobs in the top quartile in pay require some computer-science (CS) knowledge or coding skills.

And yet, CS remains largely missing from American K-12 education. By the most recent estimates, just 40 percent of K-12 schools report offering even a single computer-science course, and only 32 states currently allow students to count computer science towards core high school graduation requirements.

These challenges, and the growing relevance of computing to America's economy, cybersecurity, and national security, are why President Obama issued a bold call to action at the beginning of this year—in his final State of the Union address—to give every child the opportunity to learn computer science.

Since then, 2016 has been a year of action in support of computer science. Fourteen new states have expanded CS education, more than 500 organizations have responded to the President's call to action, and a new AP-CS course launched this fall and is already being offered in more than 2,000 classrooms. Fifteen Federal agencies are coordinating efforts to expand CS education, with new investments and guidance. Twenty-seven governors have called on Congress to support CS education.

Marking this year of progress, and kicking off the Computer Science Education Week 2016, the White House is announcing new actions in support of CS education.

New Actions Announced by the Administration Today

Federal agencies are announcing new actions in support of Computer Science for All:

•      National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing today $20 million in planned investment in FY 2017 in support of CS education. These new investments will take place under the Computer Science for All: Researcher Practitioner Partnerships (CSforAll: RPP) program, building on NSF's $25 million investment in FY 2016. The program aims to better understand, through research and development, how to provide high-school teachers with the preparation, professional development, and ongoing support that they would need to teach rigorous computer-science courses; and K-8 teachers with the preparation they would need to integrate computer science and computational thinking into their classrooms.

•      National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) will develop a CSforAll strategic framework in the coming year. The NSTC Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (CoSTEM) Federal Coordination in STEM Education Task Force's (FC-STEM) Computer Science for All Interagency Working Group will develop a strategic framework to guide Federal efforts to support the integration of computer science and computational thinking into K-12 education.

These new CS announcements will also complement Administration efforts to expand broader STEM learning opportunities:

•      U.S. Department of Education's (ED) 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) is expanding its STEM partnerships in scale and scope. From an initial pilot collaboration between ED and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 2013, which brought authentic STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experiences to students at 20 21st CCLC sites across 3 states, this program will now reach students at more than 200 sites across 25 states and will involve collaboration among 5 Federal agencies: ED, NASA, National Parks Service (NPS), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Through these Federal partnerships, students from groups typically underrepresented in the STEM fields will have access to high-quality, hands-on, inquiry-based STEM activities, as well as opportunities to connect directly with STEM professionals, to cultivate interest in the field and enhance college and career readiness. The 21st CCLC is a $1.1 billion formula-grant program dedicated to providing students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with academic and enrichment opportunities during out-of-school time, including computer science.

Additional Actions in Response to the President's Call to Action

Today, more than 250 different organizations are announcing new commitments, demonstrating the strong response to the President's call to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science.

Cumulatively, these steps will help:

•      Build the resource and knowledge base for rigorous, inclusive computer-science education. This includes Intel funding the development of a culturally sensitive CS curriculum for Native-American high-school students; Mission Measurement building a "CS and STEM-Genome" to make data insights from successful CS- programs available to practitioners and policy makers; DevTech Research Group at Tufts University making CS inclusive by translating the ScratchJr coding resource for K-5 students into ten new languages; and Center for Advancing women in Technology (CAWIT) piloting a new interdisciplinary CS degree programs aimed at increasing participation of women in CS with $3 million in corporate investment.

•      Increase access to computer science in schools. This includes new actions by schools, districts, and communities across the nation like the new CS4NH statewide initiative by the New Hampshire Department of Education, citywide efforts by the City of Philadelphia, and Houston Independent School District taking action to bring CS to 215,000 K-12 students; the National Council of Teachers of Math bringing CS training to their network of math teachers nationwide in partnership with Bootstrap; and the Inland CSforAll Summit bringing together districts, plus industry and community partners to kick-start CS education across the Inland Empire of California.

•      Engage and inspire students year round. This includes Girls Who Code launching 5,000 new clubs serving an estimated 75,000 girls in grade 5-12; Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) along with 21 PBS affiliates providing free CS resources to students ages 5-8; the launch of a National Technology Field Trip Day with 30 industry partners already on board; and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation delivering coding education to 1,000 underrepresented students in 20 cities.

•      Engage students during CSEdWeek 2016. This includes new CSEdWeek and Hour of Code resources from Cartoon Network, YouTube Kids, Edmodo, Microsoft and many more; Starbucks and CodeVA piloting "Cuppa Code" meetups to connect Virginia CS teachers with tech mentors; NCWIT leveraging the "Hidden Figures" film to highlight Black women in technology; the TechArt Hour of Code in which 10,000 girls will generate a living digital display; and 1,000 elementary school students competing in the Junior Botball Challenge in Oklahoma.

Full details on all of today's announcements can be found here.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: A Year of Action Supporting Computer Science for All Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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