Jason Monk





  • Posted 6 Months ago
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New York City Schools Plan to Teach Children to Code

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The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, has announced his new computer initiative for New York City Schools. This initiative will require that every student in the city’s public school system is exposed to a training program aimed at computer literacy for every age group and grade level. This initiative should be in full effect within a decade.

This program is scheduled to cost $80 million over the next decade. The mayor is expecting to get at least half of the amount from private sources including:

  • The AOL Charitable Foundation
  • The Solomon Wilson Family Foundation
  • The Robin Hood Foundation

The mayor believes that with the technological advancements that have occurred over the past few decades, computer science is as critical a skill in curriculum learning as reading, writing and arithmetic are.

The goal of the program is that students are equipped with the skills they will need in order to compete globally in the 21st century. This means that these students will have the technical know how to pursue a career in IT or start their own Shopify eCommerce business. New York City will be the biggest school district in the country to provide every student with computer science courses. The mayor believes that it is a disservice to not teach the youth computer skills.

The Need for Computer Science

The purpose of this educational overhaul and reform is to improve performance and educational equity in schools citywide. There are three additional goals that are under this initiative:

  • All children will be reading by the time they are in the third grade
  • Improve graduation rates (on-time)
  • Give every student the chance to attend college

Currently, there are less than 10 percent of the public schools in the city that provide computer science courses. In contrast, the tech industry in the city has increased over 50 percent between 2007 and 2015. The few classes that are offered only focus on word processing.

What is the Plan?

The Communications Manager for the mayor has stated that the first two years of the program will be funded by the founding partners. At this point, schools will be able to apply for a universal computer science program, but ultimately, all applications will be approved by the Department of Education. By the end of the 10-year goal, over 5000 teachers will be brought into the school system to teach computer education.

The president of Knowledge Central, John Paul Engel, believes that the 10-year timeframe is sufficient and believes that a lot of tech talent exist in teachers who are already in the school system as well as individuals in the community.

Possible Stumbling Blocks

Logistical obstacles like training, time, commitment and cost are some of the main concerns whenever there is a plan in place to teach computer literacy to every student in the school system. The best way to overcome these obstacles is to make sure the courses are infused into the current curriculum.

The schools must be able to provide proper hardware, as well as train teachers and form an effective curriculum for the different grade levels.

Society has shifted from physical workers to knowledge workers. This knowledge is being altered by technology, and the future workforce must be able to have the skills to stay abreast of technological advancements in the workplace.

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