Computer literacy is fast becoming an essential skill for jobs in the future, making it imperative that public schools learn to teach all kids to code, or risk putting some at a disadvantage later in life.
Ali Partovi, co-founder of Code.org, has an ambitious goal: To get public high schools to offer computer programming classes -- not just as an elective, but as a science requirement. "It's absolutely relevant for public education to embrace computer science," he says. "I can't think of any other science that would better prepare you for life in the 21st century."
For low-income and disenfranchised youth, learning to code might lead to a lucrative career in an industry that’s both booming and lacking in diversity. That’s the idea behind Oakland’s Hidden Genius Project, a two-year program that offers black high school students a variety of tech classes and pairs them with mentors. Kalimah Priforce, a tech entrepreneur and head mentor at the projects wants to see black and Latino kids move from being consumers of technology to being producers — and he wants to see that diversity reflected in high tech products.
It's estimated that only about 10 percent of K-12 schools teach computer science. Some companies are trying to fill a void in American public education by teaching kids computer programming basics. The push comes amid projections that there will be far more tech sector jobs than computer science graduates to fill them.