To the Governors and Education Leaders of the United States of America:
The undersigned leaders have joined forces to deliver a bipartisan message about opportunity and the American Dream. We call on you to update the K-12 curriculum in each state, for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science.
This has broad support among parents, students, teachers, and employers. Why? Because computer science provides an essential foundation — not only for careers in technology, but for every career in today’s world. Studies now show that students who learn computer science outperform in school, university, and beyond.
At a time when every industry is impacted by digital technology, our schools should teach every student how technology works, to learn to be creators, not just consumers. Instead, this basic skill is taught only to the lucky few, leaving most students behind, especially young women and students of color.
The United States leads the world in technology, yet only 5% of our high school students study computer science. How is this acceptable? We invented the personal computer, the internet, and the smartphone. It is our responsibility to prepare the next generation for the new American Dream.
A decade of progress has shown that change is possible: one hundred thousand teachers have proven that every school can teach computer science and that every child can start learning as early as elementary school. The largest school districts have expanded access to computer science, from New York to Los Angeles, Broward County to Las Vegas. All 50 states have taken action, showing that this idea has bipartisan support.
As states rethink education in light of COVID-19, it is time to make computer science a basic part of the “new normal.” Here’s why:
During pandemic closures, America funded laptops for 90% of students to learn from home. As schools reopen, let’s use those laptops to teach computer science.
Remote work expands opportunity. Graduates no longer need to leave their state to pursue careers in tech. Even the smallest town can become a tech hub; the key is education.
Nearly two-thirds of high-skilled immigration is for computer scientists, and every state is an importer of this strategic talent. The USA has over 700,000 open computing jobs but only 80,000 computer science graduates a year. We must educate American students as a matter of national competitiveness.
Finally, global cyber attacks have put a new spotlight on cybersecurity, making computer science a national security imperative for government and business alike.
We must all do our part. The undersigned commit our support by collectively creating employment opportunities for computer science students in every city in the USA, and in every sector, from manufacturing to banking, from agriculture to healthcare. Many of us offer internships to help these students find their career pathway. Many of us have funded efforts in CS education, to support underserved communities. But there is only so much industry can do by ourselves.
Now is the time for action, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Together we urge you, for the sake of our students, our economy, and our country, to work together to update the K-12 curriculum, for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science.
Important update: 50 U.S. governors sign compact, united in support of computer science education. See the Governors’ announcement