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Background: Keeping the Momentum Going on Computer Science

Help the Obama Administration highlight progress made on Computer Science Education.

Last year, as part of the Computer Science Education Week, President Obama became the first President to write a line of code, and issued a broad call to action to expand computer science (CS) in K-12 classrooms, calling on federal agencies, companies, foundations, non-profits and education leaders to do more to make this critical subject available to students. Since then, a growing community of states, cities, business leaders and others have been stepping up.  

Over the next six months, the Administration is planning to highlight both the progress made to date, and new commitments to expand access to CS education.  This is a “new basic” in the 21st century, because it includes not only programming, but computational thinking and learning to analyze data. 

Keeping the momentum will require a true hands-on-deck effort, including, for example:

  • Increasing the growing community of states and school districts that are allowing computer science to count towards high school graduation, and creating system-wide initiatives and policy changes to expand computer science in K-12; 
  • Giving more K-12 teachers access to high-quality professional development and training;
  • Expanding in-school and at-home access for students to the devices, hardware, kits, and tools, that allow more students to do hands-on programming and digital making;  
  • Developing and sharing cutting-edge curricula, sample projects, games for learning, lesson plans and related materials that teachers have can access to teach CS at all age and expertise-levels.
  • Giving K-12 students access to real-world CS experiences, by expanding the number of skilled volunteers at schools and afterschool, and internships and work-based learning experiences in the private sector.
  • Growing the number of district partnerships with higher education, libraries and community institutions, so that students have expanded opportunities to college-level CS courses, online courses, and benefit from the growth of open-education resources. 
  • Continuing to support and expand research on computer science and computational thinking in K-12 settings, especially in earlier grades. 

We would welcome the opportunity to work with you to highlight new, specific, and measurable steps that your organization is ready to take in these or other areas. If applicable, your announcement may be incorporated into White House materials in the coming months and your organization and relevant partners may be invited to attend to participate in upcoming White House events on this topic. Examples of prior White House fact sheets on Astronomy Night and College Opportunity may serve as templates for this event.

Danielle Carnival is Assistant Director for Education and Learning Science for the Office of Science and Technology Policy.