As part of the Obama administration's plan to provide all students with access to computer science courses in school, Salesforce.org, Google, and other leading tech companies have announced more than $60 million in philanthropic investments.
The administration's budget plan calls for $4 billion in federal funding for states and $100 million directly for districts to support and train computer science teachers, backed by more than $135 million in investments over five years from the National Science Foundation and Corporation for National and Community Service. On the private sector side, Salesforce.org plans to invest $13 million in support of CS and STEM education, starting with a $1 million grant to EducationSuperHighway to upgrade and expand broadband in K-12 public schools nationwide, while Google will invest an additional $23 million this year to support CS education for five million more students. Through various initiatives, the search giant also plans to expand access to high-quality CS professional development for K-12 teachers, support mentors and student developers, fund nonprofits like Code.org and the National Girls Collaborative Project, and work to showcase positive portrayals of women and underrepresented minorities in tech.
Elsewhere, the Cartoon Network will launch a $30 million initiative to engage young people in creative coding, including a project to create free coding tutorials with characters from two new series in partnership with Scratch — a program of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab — and the Scratch Foundation, and will work to develop a new PSA campaign targeting children between the ages of 6 and 11 that highlights positive STEM role models and connects creativity with STEM disciplines; Apple will continue to expand its Swift coding workshops and work with ConnectED schools to disseminate coding content and curricula to communities, students, and teachers; Facebook will expand its outreach efforts to underrepresented communities and will work to connect them to coding resources; and the Mozilla Foundation will launch a new open-source Web Literacy 2.0 initiative that provides workshops for the teaching and learning of Web literacy skills. To complement a $75 million commitment it announced last September to increase access to CS, Microsoft also will mount a campaign to encourage all states to invest in and adopt policies that support CS education.
"We clearly need the tech sector to continue to do more. Microsoft is one of many companies in the tech sector that is committed to this effort," wrote Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith in a blog post. "But the private sector and philanthropy cannot fill this gap without public funding....[This proposal] can provide the accelerant to help more states and school districts progress more quickly."