The White House wants every child in the United States to learn computer science.
The president’s plan to reach that goal? Ask Congress to fund a new $4 billion program for states and another $100 million for districts to train teachers and purchase the tools “so that our elementary, middle, and high schools can provide opportunities to learn computer science for all students,” Obama said in his weekly address on January 30.
With Congress’s approval, the $4 billion will be spent over three years to train teachers, connect schools with corporate and nonprofit partners, and expand instructional material. States would apply for a slice of the $4 billion and have five years to use the money. The funding programs, which will appear in the president’s forthcoming budget proposal for 2017, are just the latest effort from the White House to bring more science and technology education to students.
The Obama Administration is hopeful that the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind, signals support for additional education spending. But is advocacy for the plan relying on faulty notions about the economy’s need for more coders? And is the price tag enough to underwrite the president’s ambitious goal?