NYC Mayor Wants Computer Science for All Students

Only 1% of public school students currently get tech training
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2015 12:59 AM CDT
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife visit a pre-kindergarten class at Sacred Heart School in Staten Island.   (AP Photo/Pool, New York Daily News, Susan Watts)
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(Newser) – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wants every student in the city to have a good shot at getting the jobs of the future. The mayor is preparing to announce an ambitious 10-year plan to make computer science education available in all the city's public schools, reports the New York Times, which notes that under 10% of the city's schools offer such programs now and that only around 1% of students actually go through them. Chicago and San Francisco have announced similar initiatives, but they face the same problem New York will: a huge shortage of people qualified to teach it. New York believes the plan will involve training around 5,000 teachers, some of whom will teach computer science exclusively, per the Times. The $81 million project will include private funding.

"The difficulty is getting enough teachers who are trained in it, and trained well enough to make it a good introduction to computer science," the director of computing outreach at Georgia Tech's College of Computing tells the Times. "And if you are well-trained in computer science, you can make a lot more money in industry than [in] teaching." De Blasio is expected to announce the plan at a school in the Bronx today, where he'll also roll out other initiatives aimed at low-income students, including extra reading specialists to help struggling early learners, the Wall Street Journal reports. (In Finland, schools are phasing out the teaching of individual subjects.)

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