Computer Science Announcement
Posted on Sep 20, 2015 – 09:42pm by Launch
Mayor De Blasio’s announcement of requiring all New York City’s public schools to offer computer science within the next 10 years is fantastic news. At Launch, we are committed to getting children excited about learning STEM at a young age. It is wonderful to see the city of New York get behind the importance of this.
Sharing from the original story in the NY Times:
“To ensure that every child can learn the skills required to work in New York City’s fast-growing technology sector, Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce on Wednesday that within 10 years all of the city’s public schools will be required to offer computer science to all students. Meeting that goal will present major challenges, mostly in training enough teachers. There is no state teacher certification in computer science, and no pipeline of computer science teachers coming out of college. Fewer than 10 percent of city schools currently offer any form of computer science education, and only 1 percent of students receive it, according to estimates by the city’s Department of Education. Computer science will not become a graduation requirement, and middle and high schools may choose to offer it only as an elective. But the goal is for all students, even those in elementary school and those in the poorest neighborhoods, to have some exposure to computer science, whether building robots or learning to use basic programming languages like Scratch, which was devised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to teach young children the rudiments of coding. At least two other American cities have recently made commitments to offering computer science to all their students. Chicago has gone the furthest, pledging to make a yearlong computer science course a high school graduation requirement by 2018, and to offer computer science to at least a quarter of elementary school children by then. The San Francisco Board of Education voted in June to offer it from prekindergarten through high school, and to make it mandatory through eighth grade. Technology companies, which have been criticized for having very few female and minority employees, have supported these efforts, partly to expand and diversify the pool of qualified job applicants. Google and Microsoft have contributed to Chicago’s initiative, and San Francisco has received financing from Salesforce, Facebook and Zynga. Noting that tech jobs in New York City grew 57 percent from 2007 to 2014, Gabrielle Fialkoff, the director of the city’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, said, “I think there is acknowledgment that we need our students better prepared for these jobs and to address equity and diversity within the sector, as well.”
New York City plans to spend $81 million over 10 years, half of which it hopes to raise from private sources. Some of the early contributions have come from the AOL Charitable Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation and the venture capitalist Fred Wilson and his wife, Joanne, who previously financed New York City’s first high school devoted to computer science, the Academy for Software Engineering. The city estimates that it will have to train close to 5,000 teachers to meet its pledge to provide the instruction at every level of schooling. Some might teach computer science exclusively, while others might be traditional elementary school teachers who will learn to incorporate it into the curriculum. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story Schools that have begun to incorporate computer science say the biggest challenges have been finding people qualified to teach it, and adding yet another requirement to the mountain of skills that students already need to graduate. The National Science Foundation has said it plans to train 10,000 teachers to teach computer science. “The difficulty is getting enough teachers who are trained in it, and trained well enough to make it a good introduction to computer science,” said Barbara Ericson, the director of computing outreach at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing. “And if you are well-trained in computer science, you can make a lot more money in industry than teaching.”