Earlier this month, the White House announced new actions to improve computer science education for K-12 students in tandem with the National Science Foundation and the National Science and Technology Council.
The National Science Foundation has spent $25 million on computer science in 2016 and plans to spend $20 million in 2017 to provide teachers with preparation, professional development and ongoing support they’ll need to teach courses. A strategic framework to guide federal efforts to integrate computer science into K-12 education will be developed by the National Science and Technology Council.
An additional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunity has been expanded as well. The Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers is a program dedicated to providing students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with academic and enrichment opportunities, including computer science, during out-of-school time. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) will be expanding from 20 sites in three states to 200 sites across 35 states and will collaborate with an additional four federal agencies.
Since President Obama issued a call to action earlier this year to provide computer science education to every child, more than 500 organizations responded, including Google, Intel and Microsoft. Over 2,000 classrooms are already offering an AP-Computer Science course that was launched this fall. Fifteen federal agencies are working to expand computer science education through new investments and guidance, and 27 governors are calling on Congress to support the furthering of computer science education efforts.
According to the release, computer science education is largely missing from K-12 education in America with only 40 percent of schools offering at least one course. Only 32 states count those courses toward core graduation requirements. Despite the lack of available courses, nine in ten parents said they want their children to study computer science.