Bill Gates, Google open checkbooks for new White House initiative

Some of the nation’s largest school districts have promised to offer computer science courses in their schools, the White House announced Monday. 

Sixty school districts have pledged to offer the classes, including the seven largest districts in the country, representing more than 4 million students. The participating districts include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and other counties in Florida and Nevada. 

The White House also announced $20 million in private donations to train 25,000 computer science teachers by 2016. Donations came from companies like Google and Microsoft and individuals like Bill Gates, Napster founder Sean Parker, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and others.

The administration highlighted the initiatives on Monday to kick off Computer Science Education Week. 

{mosads}President Obama and Vice President Biden are slated Monday to meet with students who are participating in an “hour of code,” a short introduction that is meant to familiarize people with the basics of computer science.  

In a short video, Obama said the hour of code last year, which was sponsored by, helped to show people that “becoming a computer scientist isn’t as scary as it sounds.”

“With hard work, and a little math and science, anyone can do it,” he said in the video. 

The administration highlighted its outreach to minority communities and the upcoming rollout of a new advanced placement course on computer science designed by the College Board. 

Half of the new jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the next decade will come in computer science related fields, according to the White House. And there is currently a shortage of U.S. students to fill those jobs. 

“A large majority of K-12 schools do not offer any computer programming classes, and in 25 out of 50 states, computer science classes cannot count towards math and science high school graduation requirements,” according to a fact sheet from the White House.

Tags Barack Obama Computer science

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