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Obama Proposes $4 Billion For Computer Science Education

 


President Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to introduce his plan for a $4 billion program to increase computer science education in American schools. Obama and White House officials said today’s students must develop the skill to compete in an evolving economy and allow the US to continue to lead the world.

The AP (1/30, Superville) reports Obama indicated “he will ask Congress for billions of dollars to help students learn computer science skills and prepare for jobs in a changing economy.” The President said, “In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill. It’s a basic skill, right along with the three R’s.” Obama added, according to Bloomberg Politics (1/30, Olorunnipa), “I’ve got a plan to help make sure all our kids get an opportunity to learn computer science.”

The Christian Science Monitor (1/30, Fedde) reports the “Computer Science For All” initiative “aims to reboot computer science education in public schools to better prepare kids for a future workforce.” The Seattle Times (1/30, Day) says the initiative “target[s] students from preschool through high school, seeks to train teachers, expand access to instructional materials and create partnerships with organizations that can aid in computer-science teaching.”

The Washington Post (1/30, Brown) reports Obama is seeking $4 billion for the program as part of his budget proposal and, if approved by Congress, the funds “would be doled out over a period of three years to any state that applies for the funds and has a well-designed plan to expand access to computer science courses, especially for girls and minorities.” The White House is also asking for another $100 million for a “competitive grant program for school districts with ambitious plans to reach more students, especially those who have been underrepresented in computer science classes.”

USA Today (1/30, Korte) reports the US “faces a growing skills gap when it comes to jobs requiring computer programming skills – or even the soft skills of computer literacy.” White House Chief Technology Adviser Megan Smith said, “It’s not just working with computers, but developing the computational thinking, and analytical coding skills.” The Hill (1/30, Hensch) “Briefing Room” blog quotes Obama as similarly saying, “Workers of all kinds need to be able to figure out how to break a big problem into smaller pieces and identify the right steps to solve it.”

According to the New York Times (1/30, Shear, Subscription Publication), Administration officials indicated that “only a quarter of the elementary, middle and high schools in the United States offer computer science classes, with 22 states not allowing such classes to count toward a diploma.” The officials added that “only 4,310 of 37,000 high schools in the country offer Advanced Placement computer science classes...putting American children at a disadvantage.” The President said, “That’s what this is all about – each of us doing our part to make sure all our young people can compete in a high-tech, global economy.” Obama added, “They’re the ones who will make sure America keeps growing, keeps innovating and keeps leading the world in the years ahead.”

 

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