Obama backs funds to aid schools with computer scienceby RelevantStuff February 1, 2016
US President Barack Obama is keen to equip all school going students in his country with computer science skills. The president announced a $4 billion plan on Saturday to ensure that all school-going children get an opportunity to learn computer science.
What is Obama’s announcement all about?
The announcement was about an initiative called “Computer Science for All”. This is a three-year initiative that aims at providing states with adequate funds to aid teachers and classrooms with essential facilities and study material to ensure a healthy computer science curriculum. At the moment, only 25% of American schools that teach kindergarten through 12th grade offer computer science. According to Obama, 22 states don’t allow computers to count toward a diploma. This initiative is a part of Obama’s 2017 budget and awaits Republican-led Congress’s approval.
“In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill — it’s a basic skill, right along with the three R’s. 9 out of 10 parents want it taught at their children’s schools.” Obama said in his weekly radio address. Obama believes that besides just working with computers, developing analytical and coding skills can power America’s “innovation economy” to create not just more job opportunities, but innovators as well.
“Today’s auto mechanics aren’t just sliding under cars to change the oil; they’re working on machines that run on as many as 100 million lines of code. That’s 100 times more than the Space Shuttle. Nurses are analyzing data and managing electronic health records. Machinists are writing computer programs” said Obama.
The fill plan will be rolled out officially on February 9. Additionally, the plan calls for transferring $100 million directly to school districts to help them in initiating computer science programs and courses. Obama has also directed the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service to shell out $135 million for teacher training over a five-year period, which begins from this year.
Incentives that drive this initiative
According to the White House, less than 15 percent of all high schools offered any Advanced Placement computer science courses in 2015. But even in those schools, only 22 percent of applicants who took the exam were girls, while only 13 percent were African-American or Latino students. Hence, one of the key incentives for this initiative would be to bring more equality in education.
This plan also invites business and tech leaders, lawmakers and active politicians to join the movement. Companies like Microsoft, Salesforce and Google, already voted in favor of this initiative as soon as it was announced.