Faced with a desperate skills shortage, tech leaders plead for computer science reform in schools


    More than 600 leaders of nonprofits, universities, and tech giants – as well as 50 US governors – signed a letter advocating updating the K-12 curriculum of the United States to include computer science learning opportunities.

    Industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, Alphabet, Nike, UPS, AT&T, Walgreens, Zillow and more have all teamed up to partner with the tech education nonprofit , with a mission to expand access to computer science education, especially for underrepresented populations such as young women and people of color.

    Founded in 2013 by twin brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi, Code has so far served 70 million students and two million teachers. The nonprofit has previously partnered with some of the big names on the list, including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, to create the annual Hour of Code campaign, a 60-year-old computer science tutorial. Minutes are available in more than 45 languages.

    The signatories of the letter pledged to create job opportunities for computer science students in every city and sector in the United States, from manufacturing to agriculture and healthcare. Additionally, for many signatories, this effort will include internships, career pathway resources, and funding for computer science education in underserved communities.

    The letter points to a notable shortcoming in the US curriculum: “The United States leads the world in technology, yet only 5% of our high school students study computer science.”

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    Currently, 51% of schools offer computer science, a huge jump from 35% in 2018. Despite this progress, Hispanic students, English learners, students with disabilities and learning economically disadvantaged students are not allowed to participate in computer science in high school, compared with their state population.

    The letter also points to contrasts in the tech industry’s workforce supply and demand. Currently, the US has 700,000 open computer jobs but only 80,000 computer science graduates every year.

    Code’s initiative to train the next generation of computing force is within reach in part due to existing infrastructure. Due to the pandemic closing schools, schools in the US have donated laptops to 90% of students to achieve their distance learning goals.

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    Finally, the letter says: We have a responsibility to prepare the next generation for the new American Dream. “

    “At a time when every industry is impacted by digital technology, our schools should teach every student how technology works, learn to be creators, not just consumers. use.”

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