Hundreds of tech honchos push U.S. states for better comp sci ed in K-12

More than 500 business czars and education leaders signed a letter by nonprofit urging U.S. governors and boards of education to give “every student in every school…the opportunity to learn computer science.”

The letter comes amid continuing worries about ways to increase the talent pool of computer scientists, engineers and scientists who rely on computer programming of various applications used to develop projects.  In turn, colleges depend on primary and secondary schools to excite students about the computer science field.

Nearly all the signatories in the business sector include companies that rely on software and hardware but do not necessarily produce such products. Very few of the companies signing the letter are leaders of semiconductor or component manufacturers. 

Major tech names on the list include Apple, Microsoft, Meta, IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, Cisco, Amazon, Alphabet, Oracle, Accenture, AT&T, T-Mobile, Twitter, GM, and John Deere.

The letter offers reasons for improving computer science education in K-12 schools.  “The United States leads the world in technology, yet only 5% of our high school students study computer science,” the letter reads. “How is this acceptable? We invented the personal computer, the internet and the smartphone. It is our responsibility to prepare the next generation for the new American Dream.”

It also notes that computer science education, even as early as elementary school, is possible partly because laptops were more readily available to students during pandemic closures that can be used for computer science education.

The U.S. has more than 700,000 open computing jobs but only 80,000 computer science graduates a year, the letter adds.

“Together we urge you, for the sake of our students, our economy and our country to work together to update the K-12 curriculum for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science,” the letter concludes.

Bill Gates tweeted support for the letter signing campaign noting: “When I was 13, computer science changed the course of my life. I was really lucky to have access to a computer early on. I hope this initiative will give every student the same opportunity.”

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