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Big Tech calls for computer science to be taught to US kids • The Register

Leaders of hundreds of leading U.S. tech companies, universities, and nonprofits are calling for computer science to be taught to children in American schools.

CEOs of Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and others have signed a letter urging governors and education leaders to introduce computer science lessons to all K-12 students – those aged five to 18, mostly – nationwide. Children should be given a chance to learn how to code in elementary and through high school, according to CEO Hadi Partovi, who led the effort.

Computer science should be a major subject, such as basic biology or algebra.

“Every industry is affected by digital technology, but not all students have the opportunity to learn how technology works,” Partovi said in a statement. “Today, computer science should be a core topic, like basic biology or algebra. The United States has seen great momentum behind this idea, and today’s announcement makes it clear that the time for action is now now. “

The COVID-19 pandemic is temporarily closing schools and changing the way students learn. Instead of being in classrooms, many watch lessons online in front of a computer, laptop, or tablet. Now that they’re back in class, they need to use the devices to enroll in computer science classes, it argues. Chief Academic Officer Pat Yongpradit said The Register Young students don’t have to start learning production programming languages ​​right away, and can start with something simpler to help them understand problem solving and understand how to teach computers. to do things.

“Nowadays, Java, JavaScript, and Python are some of the most popular languages ​​to be taught in schools, but many programming environments, such as, use a visual block-type interface (imagine puzzle pieces or Legos) that are on top. in a typical programming language and facilitate participation in professional programming languages, “Yongpradit said.

“Students need to learn how to design programs that relate to their passions and interests, how to break down difficult problems into easier management, how to generalize a solutions to different situations, and often how to use the power of computers to make the world a better place, “he added.

“The United States,” the open letter added, “leads the world of technology, but only five percent of our high school students study computer science. How can this be received? We invented the personal computers, the internet, and smartphones. It is our responsibility to prepare the next generation for the new American Dream. “

Learning how to program will help prepare students for a computer-dominated future, and will also help them become more thoughtful consumers in the digital world. If they don’t continue to make software, they may better understand how these systems work together and how problems like programming can be solved. Making computer science part of the national curriculum will also introduce the subject to those from under -represented technological backgrounds.

“Students in CS classes don’t use technology but create it,” Yongpradit told us. “In order to create technology in a thoughtful way, students need to understand not only how it is made, but when they need it and how it is designed for all people, for example, people with disabilities. Students also need to learn about the societal implications of technology, good and bad. “

There are also other widespread benefits for the U.S. beyond economic growth, the letter argues. The U.S. is reported to have more than 700,000 computer -related jobs a year and only 80,000 are computer science graduates. The tech industry needs to hire high-skilled immigrants to fill these positions. If more people from the country can code, it will keep the U.S. more nationally competitive. It will also help government and businesses deal with more cyber attacks, boosting national security.

The letter continued: “The undersigned pledges our support by jointly creating job opportunities for computer science students in every city in the USA, and in every sector, from manufacturing to banking, from agriculture. to healthcare.Many of us offer internships to help with this.Students have found their career path.Many of us fund CS education efforts, to support underserved communities.But there are many industries we can do on our own. “

“Now is the time for action, and the stakes cannot be higher. Together we urge you, for the benefit of our students, our economy, and our country, to work together to update the “K-12 curriculum, for every student in every school who has the opportunity to learn computer science,” the letter concluded.

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