Celebrating Year One of CS4All
We should be “offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one,” proclaimed President Obama in January 2016. At the time, New York City was well on its way to that goal, already four months in on the largest K-12 computer science education initiative in the nation.
Computer Science for All (CS4All), the NYC Department of Education’s groundbreaking initiative, will bring CS education to every student in every elementary, middle and high school by 2025. Just 12 months in, the $81 million public-private partnership, for which The Fund will raise $40 million, has already seen impressive progress.
“Last year we announced an ambitious plan to bring computer science education to every public school student by 2025 – making New York City the largest school district in the country to do so. Today, we are announcing real strides in completing our goal,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The city’s tech industry is growing, yet before Computer Science for All, fewer than five percent of our public school students had even the most basic skills necessary to apply for these jobs. Through this program, we’re laying the groundwork today so that our kids can apply for these jobs tomorrow.”
In its first year, the initiative has rolled out to 246 elementary, middle and high schools across all five boroughs, and 457 educators have trained in teaching computer science. Of the 246 schools participating in CS4All, 98 are offering full-year courses or multi-year sequences, including AP Computer Science Principles, the Software Engineering Program (SEP) and the SEP Jr. program for elementary school students. Teachers from the remaining schools have participated in intensive computer science training to implement hands-on CS lessons to their students, who will learn the fundamentals of computer science, such as coding, robotics and web design.
“Computer Science for All is a cornerstone of equity and excellence in our public schools – these are the skills our students need to be successful in high school, college and careers in the 21st century,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This isn’t just for particular students from particular backgrounds; learning how to think critically and computationally, and how to create with technology, must be for all students. I thank our private partners for recognizing the importance of this initiative and for their investment.”
The program’s swift progress isn’t limited to the classroom. The private sector, which is a critical enabler of CS4All, has rallied around the initiative, pledging more than $20M in support in one year.
"I am very gratified to see so many leaders of the private sector in NYC get behind CS4All. This is the kind of transformational effort that requires the support of both government and the private sector," said Fred Wilson, Founder & Chairman, CSNYC and Partner, Union Square Ventures. "Together, we are making sure that all of our students in NYC are trained in the skills that they need to be successful in the private sector and, really, any sector. So it makes sense that everyone is coming together to support this work."
Wilson's CSNYC provided funding for a specialized Computer Science high school in New York, as did the AT&T Foundation, as well as an earlier computer science program which served as the model for CS4All. The initiative is supported by a range of foundations, corporations, nonprofits, families and individuals. Foundation support comes from CSNYC, Robin Hood, Robin Hood Education and Technology Fund, and the ABNY Foundation. Corporate support includes Alexandria Real Estate Equities, AOL Charitable Foundation, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz. Nonprofits, families and individuals supporting CS4All include Math for America (MfA), Code.org, Ron and Topher Conway, Daniel and Jane Och Family Foundation, Nancy and Alan Schwartz, the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, The Rudin Foundation, The Paulson Foundation, and The Hutchins Family Foundation. The Fund for Public Schools, CSNYC and the Office of Strategic Partnerships at City Hall work together to develop and manage these partnerships.
“Computer Science for All demonstrates the power of public private partnerships,” said Sarah Geisenheimer, Executive Director of the Fund for Public Schools. “With commitments from the City and private funders we are able to move quickly to ensure that every single NYC student has access to an education that will equip them with the skills to succeed in the future. We are grateful for this partnership and the investments that will create opportunities for all our students.”
New York employers alone will create 200,000 technology jobs over the next decade, and CS4All will provide equitable access to the skills required to fill them. Further, with a school system comprising 48% girls, 27% black and 40% Hispanic students, the program enables the sector’s future workforce to more likely reflect the city’s diversity than it currently does.
As Obama astutely noted of CS education, CS4All has the promise of giving everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in the new economy.