Coalition of tech leaders writes Congress encouraging coding in classrooms
- Silicon Valley executives, including the heads of Amazon, Yelp!, Oracle and IBM, have teamed up with state governors to send an open letter to Congress asking for $250 million worth of federal funding to help schools teach computer science.
- In the letter, signatories pointed out the hundreds of millions of dollars donated by the private sector towards teaching students to code.
- The open letter is accompanied by a change.org petition spearheaded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, which encourages others to support offering computer science and public schools.
The contributions of private industry to classroom tech has been instrumental to American schools. Most recently, Oracle donated $200 million for computer education, specifically in support of the Obama administration's $4 billion computer science initiative in K-12 schools. Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and code.org have also supported the initiative.
These private-public partnerships require collaboration and planning on the part of districts. Some states are ahead of the curve; both Arkansas and Rhode Island have mandated computer science classes to be offered to students. Rhode Island's new Computer Science for RI (CS4RI) program aims to have every public school in the state teach computer science classes by December 2017; currently just 1% of RI students are enrolled in CS classes.