Tell the truth. Did you even know there was such a thing as Computer Science Education Week? You didn’t, did you? It’s okay. We didn’t know either. And frankly, we missed it. It was last week—December 5-11.
Don’t worry. We’ll give it a proper celebration next year. In the meantime, like the spirit of other joyous holidays, this is one that should be commemorated everyday, all year long.
Currently, there is a clear and concerning lack of STEM education effectively infused in the K-12 educational experience. It happens to be a hot item at the moment, getting lots of attention in business and academic circles. But what we do not have yet is a smart, strategic, and seamless way to embed high-quality STEM learning into the everyday lives of kids. We would do well to present STEM education in a way that reaches students in inspiring ways, fueling their ambitions and aspirations.
We love what Vince Bertram of Project Lead The Way and Justina Nixon-Saintil of Verizon Foundation had to say about this in an op-ed for US News & World Report. They call out the imperative of ensuring that under-represented students get early exposure: “At its core, the skills gap is the product of an education system that lacks the opportunities and tools to prepare young people for the jobs and careers of the future. Students, especially under-represented female and minority students, begin to make decisions about the subjects they like and feel confident about in elementary school, so it’s critical to encourage and inspire them to explore STEM subjects at an early age.”
We join Project Lead the Way and Verizon Foundation in working toward solutions. As they rightly conclude: “The need for broad access to good computer science curriculum is enormous, and meeting it will require more innovative nonprofit/for-profit partnerships, more companies willing to invest in the future, and more educators and parents speaking out to demand more options for their students.”