ACM and CSTA Applaud "Computer Science for All" Milestones
New York, September 14, 2016 —ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s leading computing society, and CSTA, the Computer Science Teachers Association, praised the White House announcement today of the launch of the CSforAll Consortium. The White House has also announced $25 million in grants awarded from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and new commitments from more than 200 organizations to strengthen computer science education in the US. These are just the latest in a series of developments which underscore the growing recognition that computer science education must be a fundamental subject in the K-12 setting.
The CSforAll Consortium is a national organization formed in response to the growing computer science education community, the broadly bipartisan support for computer science, and President Obama’s call to action to provide every student with access to computer science. Led by a steering committee of ACM, CSTA, Code.org, The College Board, the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education (CSNYC) and the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), and with a membership of more than 180 organizations, the CSforAll Consortium will connect states, districts, and schools with computer science education curriculum and implementation partners, funders, and researchers. The CSforAll Consortium website provides searchable access to resources and the means to discover and contact relevant partners, and tracks the impact of CSforAll initiatives across the country.
ACM has been at the forefront of advocating for quality computer science education in the US for many years. “When ACM began to actively educate the wider public and policy leaders about the value of computer science education 10 short years ago, there was very little understanding of the importance of K-12 computer science education. Only a small percentage of high schools in the US offered computer science education and it was virtually nonexistent at the lower grade levels,” explains ACM CEO Bobby Schnabel. “Now, the importance of computer science education in K-12 is a mainstream idea. This is a welcome development, as estimates point to 4.4 million job openings in computer science-related professions in the US in the year 2024. Beyond that, whatever occupation a young person decides to pursue, she or he will need some familiarity with computing to be successful in their careers.”
Leaders from education, technology and business recognize that the demand for computer science education in the US cannot be met in the coming years without a dedicated workforce of well-trained computer science teachers. ACM founded CSTA, which has grown to more than 23,000 members in 146 countries, to address the need for qualified computer science educators.
“Few fields can provide students with as much opportunity as computer science can,” says Mark Nelson, Executive Director of CSTA. “At the same time, this is a very exciting time to be a computer science teacher. Whether it is a young educator just starting out, or an experienced teacher looking to retrain, CSTA provides a welcoming environment, where educators can nurture their professional growth and shape our technology-driven future.”
ACM, through its Education Policy Committee, and CSTA were founding partners of the nonpartisan coalition Computing in the Core, now Code.org. Computing in the Core was instrumental in the adoption of Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) in the US. Code.org has engaged nearly 270 million people worldwide in its annual Hour of Code campaign, which will take place during CSEdWeek, December 5 – 11.
In 2014, ACM’s Education Policy Committee issued a report urging policy leaders to work with business and educational stakeholders to expand opportunities for students to gain the skills and knowledge needed to compete for high-demand/ high-wage positions in the computing field. The report, Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States, calls on education, business, and public policy leaders in every US state to take immediate action aimed at strengthening and building the pipeline of qualified students pursuing computing and related degrees, and to prepare them for the 21st-century workforce.
A 2010 report, Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K -12 Computer Science in the Digital Age, jointly produced by ACM and CSTA, found that roughly two-thirds of US states lacked computer science education standards for secondary education and that most states did not allow computer science courses to satisfy a core mathematics or science credit for high school graduation.
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.
CSTA's mission is to empower, engage and advocate for K-12 computer science teachers worldwide. CSTA is a membership organization which supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. The Association for Computing Machinery founded CSTA as part of its commitment to K-12 computer science education.