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Microsoft Increases Support of Computer Science Education With $75 Million Pledge

Microsoft Increases Support of Computer Science Education with $75 Million Pledge

Microsoft's Satya Nadella announced that the company will be the latest tech giant to help support computer science education for youth by pledging $75 million to the cause over the next three years.

The funding will help expand on Microsoft's YouthSpark program, which is "the company's effort to get young people hooked on computer science and build a larger, more diverse talent pool for the technology industry," said USA Today.

The money is intended to provide donations and resources to non-profit organizations around the world, as well as expand TEALS- Technology Education and Literacy in Schools. TEALS is a Microsoft-developed program that teaches computer science in high schools and connects students with technology they will encounter in future careers.

TEALS also tackles one of the many challenges that comes with expanding computer science in schools- training teachers; the program is designed to help teachers learn how to teach computer science courses themselves.

Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that in the next ten years, computer science courses will be made available in all NYC public schools. As a result, the initiative plans to train 5,000 teachers over the next few years to support the initiative and will not be made a graduation requirement, therefore having the potential to be offered only as an elective in many schools.

But despite the early challenges to emphasizing computer science education in K-12 schools, it's an important effort to take on. According to USA Today, only 1% of NYC students are currently learning computer science.

In addition to expanding computer science education for all youth, Microsoft will also focus on helping girls and minorities get interested in the field.

"'We don't have enough people in the country with the skills to fill the jobs that our industry is going to create. Even more than that, we are not creating opportunities for everyone across the country. We see that most notably in the shortage of African Americans, Latinos, girls and women entering the tech sector,'" said Microsoft President Brad Smith, according to USA Today.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/17/2015

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