San Francisco Votes to Expand Computer Science Education Across All Grades
Source: Arts Technica | June 10, 2015 | By Cyrus Farivar
Donations from Salesforce charity will fund the new program from pre-school onward.
Within a few years, every single student in the San Francisco Unified School District will be studying computer science, at all grade levels.
The city’s Board of Education unanimously approved the measure during its weekly meeting on Tuesday evening.
“Information technology is now the fastest growing job sector in San Francisco, but too few students currently have access to learn the Computer Science skills that are crucial for such careers,” Board President Emily Murase said in a statementon Wednesday. “We are proud to be at the forefront of creating a curriculum that will build on the knowledge and skills students will need starting as early as preschool.”
According to the district, computer science classes are relatively rare across the United States.
“Currently, no national, state, or local standards exist for Computer Science and the academic research in Computer Science education is quite limited,” the board wrote. “As such, a cohesive progression of Computer Science knowledge and skills does not yet exist.”
The effort is going to be largely funded by the Salesforce Foundation, a charitable wing of the company.
At present, only a “few hundred” San Francisco public school students took the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam in Spring 2014. Of those, just 22 percent were women, and three percent were African American, Latino or Native American.
How exactly will San Francisco’s preschool set get in on the action? SFUSD says they “will most likely be using blocks to build robots, to introduce the concepts of procedural thinking, cause and effect, decomposition of complex tasks, pattern recognition as well as the ability to notice similarities or common differences, abstraction and algorithm design and the ability to develop a step-by-step strategy for solving a problem.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.”
The median salary nationwide in the industry is just over $102,000—likely higher in the competitive and increasingly-expensive San Francisco Bay Area.