White House Summit on Computer Science Education

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
September 16, 2016

This week’s White House Summit on Computer Science for All celebrated progress made in support of the U.S. President’s initiative to provide every student the opportunity to learn computer science and featured announcements of new efforts and activities dedicated to growing the CSforAll momentum. The event brought together government officials from the White House and federal agencies, educators, students, businesses, foundations, and nonprofits.

Among the new commitments announced at the Summit, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced $25 million in new grants to advance computer science education, and 200+ organizations announced new commitments to strengthen computer science education inside and outside the classroom and to support computer science teachers.

ACM’s Leadership Role in Growing the Momentum

At the Summit, ACM and CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) announced their leadership roles in a new CSforAll Consortium. This new network brings together computer science education providers, schools, funders, and researchers to support the mission of expanding access to computer science education for all students. The Consortium is led by a steering committee of ACM, CSTA, Code.org, The College Board, the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education (CSNYC) and the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), and has a membership of 180+ organizations.

ACM Celebrates Progress

The launch of this new partnership initiative builds on the major role ACM has played in raising the visibility of the importance of computer science education policy at all levels in the United States. ACM’s commitment to rigorous K–12 computer science education has involved a wide range of activities during the past decade.

ACM, through its Education Policy Committee, and CSTA were founding partners of the nonpartisan coalition Computing in the Core, now Code.org. Computing in the Core was instrumental in the adoption of the annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) in the United States. Code.org has engaged nearly 270 million people worldwide in its annual Hour of Code campaign, which will take place during this year’s CSEdWeek December 5-11, 2016.

A 2014 policy report by the ACM Education Policy Committee, Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States, urged education, business, and public policy leaders in every U.S. state to take immediate action to expand access to quality computer science education and to address workforce development. The report provides detailed recommendations to guide state policy leaders as they develop and implement comprehensive plans to address inclusive computer science education, capacity building of computer science teachers, and the creation of effective computer science education and career pathways.

A 2010 policy report, Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K -12 Computer Science in the Digital Age, jointly produced by ACM and CSTA, found that roughly two-thirds of US states lacked computer science education standards for secondary education and that most states did not allow computer science courses to satisfy a core mathematics or science credit for high school graduation.

ACM also advances computer science and computing education in the United States and around the world through its international activities, special interest groups, conferences, publications, digital library collections, policy statements, and curricula recommendations.

About the ACM Education Policy Committee

The ACM Education Policy Committee is a high-level committee of acclaimed computer scientists and educators dedicated to improving opportunities for quality education in computer science and computing-related fields. The Education Policy Committee develops initiatives aimed at shaping education policies that impact the computing field. A primary goal of the EPC is to ensure that computer science, computing, and informatics education is recognized in educational initiatives at all levels of the educational pipeline.

About the Computer Science Teachers Association

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. CSTA provides opportunities for K–12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn. ACM founded CSTA as part of its commitment to K-12 and pre-university computer science education. Its membership consists of more than 23,000 members from more than 145 countries.