Growing up in Buffalo, New York, I was lucky to have teachers in my local
public school who found creative and exciting ways to introduce me to all of the
STEM (science, tech, engineering and math) disciplines. Hands-on experiences
with innovative technology built my confidence and skills for the future and
helped me understand that STEM, especially computer science, could be used to
make the world a better place.
President's bold new proposal will empower students from kindergarten
through high school to learn computer science, equipping them with the
analytical skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just
consumers, and to apply their passion and enthusiasm to solving problems using
The United States has been home to so many amazing digital inventions -- from
Silicon Valley to its counterparts like Austin, Boston, Eastern Kentucky,
Louisville, Boise, Salt Lake, Atlanta, and more. Last year, there were more than
600,000 high-paying jobs across a variety of industries in the United States
that were unfilled, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be
in CS-related fields.
Our economy and our children's futures can't afford to
Elementary students in Baltimore, Maryland with the
Weâ€™ve made real progress, but we have a lot of work left to do. In 22
states, computer science still doesnâ€™t count toward high school graduation
requirements for math or science, and 75% of schools donâ€™t yet offer a single
high-quality computer science course. Plus, stereotypes perpetuated by media
portrayals, unconscious bias, the unsung history of CS
heroes like Grace Hopper, and outdated classroom materials often
discourage many from taking these courses -- they often 'opt-out' of CS even
when it is offered.
The good news is innovators in education are already solving these challenges
and leading the way all over the country. We recently recognized just a handful
of these Americans at the White
House Champions of Change for Computer Science Education event.
These students, teachers, and community leaders are proving whatâ€™s possible,
like the Spanish teacher in Queens who co-created a â€œDigital Danceâ€
experience, bringing code into school dances. Or the high school and college
students who tutor their younger peers in these skills, solidifying their own
knowledge through mentoring.
As a kid, I was lucky to be exposed to CS -- but a lot of my generation
didnâ€™t get that chance. Letâ€™s get all-hands-on-deck to make sure every child
is learning to code as a new 'basic' skill Â-- so they can all be part of the
next generation of American ingenuity, problem solving, adventure, and deep