As K-12 schools attempt to close the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills gap, federal support for such programs is key. Under President Obama, there was Computer Science for All, an initiative designed to give schools support and funding to provide opportunities for underrepresented students.
Every dollar devoted to computer science education should be spent on professional development for teachers, said Hadi Partovi, the founder and CEO of Code.org. That includes “100 percent,” he said, of the $200 million the Trump administration has directed the U.S. Department of Education to spend on STEM and computer science programs each year.
The CSforAll Consortium's slate of new commitments, announced at this year's summit in St. Louis, came from companies, universities, national nonprofits, cities, school districts, and state departments of education. These initiatives vary widely in scope, but many are directed toward addressing persistent challenges in the field—like teacher-training pathways and professional development, curriculum resources, and accessible out-of-school time programs.
Immunotherapy for leukemia patients has been nothing short of a miracle. Now scientists hope to use that science and other forms of gene therapy to tackle three of the deadliest forms of cancer: glioblastoma (brain cancer), sarcoma (bone cancer) and ovarian cancer. Three scientists have received $1.3 million in critical funding from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), the nation's only nonprofit dedicated exclusively to cell and gene therapies for cancer.
The Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education is taking public comments on her proposed priorities for $700 million in discretionary grants the agency will issue annually in the coming years. Although many of the priorities focus on Betsy DeVos' flagship interest, school choice, the promotion of STEM education -- and particularly computer science -- also makes an appearance in the list.
The company has committed to donating the funds over the next five through grants to organizations that focus on job training and opportunities. The $1 billion will be given out as grants to non-profits around the world specializing in addressing the education and technology gaps. It's the largest single commitment Google has made.
The memo instructs U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to direct competitive grant money to STEM focused programs, with the goal of $200 million a year for five years. A number of prominent companies in tech and other industries said they will make contributions over the next five years, though some offered few specifics on on the nature of those gifts.
As a part of ongoing efforts to invest in a more diverse technology workforce, Dell Inc. expects to contribute $14 million in grants and technology donations to support future generations of STEM workers, in current fiscal year which ends Feb. 3, 2018. Current donations made across Dell's 71 youth learning partners globally are expected to bring technology education to more than 1.5 million underserved youth.
The funds allow schools to expand their computer programming education, which gives them a chance to start teaching skills, such as coding, at a younger age. Such classes can offer training for technology-based jobs in the future. This expands the opportunities for students to start their careers straight out of high school rather than obtain a four-year degree.
“We appreciate the White House’s action to elevate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at the Department of Education. While we look forward to more details on how this will work, we applaud the Trump Administration’s recognition of the connections between STEM skills and the best American jobs in the global economy. Although we differ with the President on funding levels for education programs at the Department, we certainly agree about the need to prioritize federal investments in STEM education – both in and outside the classroom. Our future depends on success in STEM.”