Nation’s top industry, nonprofit and education leaders call for state leaders to encourage the teaching of computer science in school; CEOs commit to creating new employment opportunities across the U.S.
SEATTLE, July 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In partnership with national nonprofit organization Code.org, over 500 of the nation’s top industry, nonprofit, and education leaders today issued a bipartisan letter calling on state governments and education leaders to “update the K-12 curriculum in each state, for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science.”
The coalition behind this effort is unprecedented in U.S. education, uniting the leaders and founders of large tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon, together with CEOs of companies across sectors, including American Express, Nike, Starbucks, Delta Airlines, AT&T, UPS, Walgreens, and Hasbro, as well as national education organizations such as Khan Academy, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
“Every industry is impacted by digital technology, yet not every student has the opportunity to learn how technology works,” said Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi. “Today, computer science should be a core subject, just like basic biology or algebra. The United States has seen tremendous momentum behind this idea, and today’s announcement makes it clear that the time for action is now. We must ensure that standards and the curricula used across the country prioritize computer science so that all students, particularly from underrepresented backgrounds, have the opportunity to participate in our digital economy.”
Today’s announcement coincides with the culmination of the National Governors Association Chairman’s Initiative for K-12 computer science, led by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and supported by a coalition of bipartisan governors. Over the last decade, all 50 states have taken action to expand access to computer science, including allowing computer science to count toward core graduation requirements, funding professional learning to train more teachers, and creating clear certification pathways for computer science teachers. Yet today, the United States has over 700,000 open computing jobs, but only 80,000 computer science graduates a year, and only 5% of high school students study computer science.
“The rapid adoption of technology across our economy means more careers will require an understanding of computer science, and our schools must prepare the next generation for this future. There is a profound urgency to ensure all students, especially Black and Latino students who have been historically underrepresented in upwardly mobile careers, can develop the knowledge and skills critical to succeed,” said Robert F. Smith, founder, chairman, and CEO of leading global technology investor Vista Equity Partners who signs alongside 27 of his portfolio company CEOs. “On behalf of myself, Vista and the 27 CEOs within the Vista portfolio who have signed on, we are proud to join Code.org and its coalition of industry leaders and philanthropists not just in calling on states to take action, but in lending our support to drive change.”
“Every student should learn computer science in the classroom,” said Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. “When I was young, I didn’t see myself as someone who could work in tech, but I took a computer science class in college, and it changed the course of my career. I believe all students should have the opportunity to explore how computer science could impact their lives.”
The call to action issued today urges states to expand access by encouraging updates to academic standards and curricula that incorporate computer science as a foundation to prepare all students–regardless of whether they plan to pursue a career in technology–to thrive in today’s evolving workforce. In turn, those who signed on to the letter have committed to creating employment opportunities for computer science students in every American city and in every sector.
“I am excited to see many of our nation’s business and nonprofit leaders recognize that it is critical for all students, especially young women and students of color, to develop computer science skills that prepare them for successful futures,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, Los Angeles Unified Superintendent. “Los Angeles Unified will build on its longstanding commitment to computer science, and I call on other superintendents to ensure the curricula in our schools give all students the opportunity to build foundational computer science skills.”
“Foundational K-12 computer science education is critical—although every student may not be bound for a tech career, every student will enter the digital economy, and every part of an organization requires digital skills,” said Julie Sweet, chair and CEO of Accenture. “Business, government and education must come together to design a comprehensive, relevant computer science curriculum that gives our country’s students more equal opportunities, prepares them for the jobs of the future, and helps companies across industries continue to meet their rapidly changing talent needs.”
Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups. Our vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science as part of their core K-12 education. The leading provider of K-12 computer science curriculum in the largest school districts in the United States, Code.org also created the annual Hour of Code campaign, which has engaged more than 15% of all students in the world.