Datamaskiner er overalt. Vi har dem i lommen. Vi har dem på veggen. De er i bilene våre. De utgjør en kritisk del av infrastrukturen vår, og finnes i alt fra kraftlinjer og trafikklys til den innerste kjernen av finansmarkedene. Og alle disse datamaskinene har en ting til felles: De avhenger av programvare som skal fortelle hvordan de skal fungere.
Men hvem skal egentlig skrive denne programvaren?
Når vi tenker på hvor raskt verden endres av denne teknologien, skulle man tro at antallet informatikkstudenter i grunnskolen var raskt stigende. Men den gang ei. Det er faktisk færre informatikkstudenter, og færre skoler som har informatikk på timeplanen, enn det var for ti år siden.
I en tid med stadig økende etterspørsel etter gode programmerere, uteksamineres stadig færre informatikere. Even in this time of high unemployment, thousands of jobs, many of them right here in [INSERT STATE/CITY], are going unfilled for lack of enough individuals with the right skill sets.
Hva kan dette skyldes? Og hva kan vi gjøre med det?
Problemet starter på ungdomsskolenivå, og opprettholdes gjennom videregående. Ni av ti skoler har ikke programmering på timeplanen. In [SCHOOL DISTRICT] last year, only [NUMBER] students took the college-level Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Exam, just [%] of all students who took an AP in our state. We’re simply not doing enough to prepare or encourage our students to pursue these high-paying, vital careers.
Nearly all major computing innovations were invented here in this country, but we’re at risk of losing that leadership if we don’t do something now.
We need to make some changes.
[OPTIONAL FOR STATES WHERE THIS APPLIES]
One positive change would be to allow rigorous computer science courses to satisfy a high school math or science graduation requirement. In [INSERT STATE], computer science courses are electives. Given academic demands, students cannot afford to take elective computer science courses. And making this change can have a big impact. In states where computer science courses count toward graduation requirements, courses are fifty percent larger with much higher rates of participation by underserved minorities than states that treat computer science as an elective.
We should also work with students at a young age to spark their interest in computer science and coding. Our children should not just know how to use apps and play video games – they should know how to create them. Children can learn the basics of coding as early as the second grade.
We need to recruit more computer science teachers and encourage professional development within their field. Today there are many online resources that can help teachers access and keep up to date with the latest technology for their students.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, there will be 9.2 million jobs in STEM fields. Half of those jobs—4.6 million—will be in computing or information technology. And computer science is increasingly foundational knowledge for the 21st Century. Who will fill these jobs if our children are not given the opportunity to gain the skills needed?
This week, October 1-31, is Computer Science Education Week. In schools throughout [STATE], our students will be participating in a national Hour of Code, demystifying the subject of computer science and hopefully whetting their appetites to go on and learn more. I will be joining them, and I invite you to join in as well. Everyone should learn how to code. Visit https://hourofcode.com/ma to learn more and get started. And support our efforts to bring computer science to more schools in [STATE].