White House Computer Science for All Summit
The White House Computer Science for All summit marked the progress made on one of President Obama’s education goals. That goal is to ensure that every American student has the opportunity to learn computer science.
Since January, organizations have pledged more than $250 million in philanthropic support. And they have already reached more than a million students and teachers with computer science programming.
Computer Science for All
At the summit, the new commitments from more than 200 organizations were impressive. Here are just a couple of examples:
1) Expanded CS offerings within the Girl Scouts of the USA that could reach 1.4 million girls per year
2) Code.org supporting professional development for 40,000 additional teachers
3) New collaborations to bring CS to students in a variety of settings from African-American churches to family coding nights to tribal Head Start programs
In addition, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Computer Science for All Act. This Act would authorize $250 million in new grants to advance computer science education for pre-K to 12th graders. Computer science education is likely to get wide bipartisan support, but it’s unclear if that support will translate to funding.
Everyone Can Code
Apple Computer has launched its Everyone Can Code initiative. This initative uses a new approach to coding that the company claims lets anyone learn, write, and teach it. Everyone Can Code teaches Swift, using Apple’s new Swift Playgrounds app to help beginners learn the basics. App development with Swift allows more advanced coders to experiment with playgrounds in Xcode, the software used to make Mac apps. The Teacher Guides provide ideas for lessons and group activities that work in the classroom or in after-school program. The guide also offers a variety of tips as well as ways to track student progress.
The Perkins Act
The House of Representatives also passed a bill reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The Perkins Act had not been reauthorized since 2006. Like ESSA before it, the bill reduces the federal role in CTE, streamlining performance measures and giving states more flexibility to use federal resources in response to changing education and economic needs.
The Senate had planned to mark up its version of the bill on September 21, but the markup has been postponed. It appears that Democrats and Republicans are having difficulty reaching agreement on some issues. There are also several differences with the House bill that would need to be resolved in conference before the bill goes to the President for signature. This is legislation that Congress might be able to pass before the end of the year.