October 09, 2014

 

City News Service 

 

The Los Angeles Unified School District agreed to partner with a nonprofit group to offer computer science classes to K-12 students, it was recently announced. The district’s arrangement with Seattle-based Code.org may help diminish the digital divide — something Superintendent John Deasy said prevents women and people of color, in particular, from competing for high-technology jobs. Part of the reason for the disparity is that public school children in Los Angeles and elsewhere get little training in problem solving, critical thinking and writing computer software — especially at an early age.

 

Deasy said he hoped students would develop competence in computer science, which enhances learning, regardless of a child's ultimate interests.

 

“It is absolutely critical that we equip students with an education that prepares them for life,” Deasy said.

 

“Teaching students how to code enhances their relevant skills, no matter what academic or career path they eventually choose. Coding is, by any measure in a digital-age economy, an essential skill, and is something that all students should have the opportunity to learn.”

 

Hadi Partovi, founder and chief executive officer of Code.org, said he was proud of the partnership and hoped “to bring computer science to every Los Angeles student and give them knowledge to lead in any 21st-century career.

 

“When less than 10 percent of schools offer computer science nationwide, expanding access for students in the second-largest school district in the country is a milestone we should all celebrate today.”

 

The computer science plan will be rolled out over the next three years.

 

The components include:

 

• Offering computer science to grades K-5, teaching concepts in computing using a blended approach of self-guided and self-paced online tutorials, along with other activities that require no computer at all

 

• Establishing a program for middle-school students that combines computer science with the mathematics and science curriculum, computer programming, as well as algebra, will be used to problem solve

 

• Expanding the computer science classes offered at high schools, including by 2016, an advanced placement course

 

Code.org has agreed to prepare teachers throughout the school year in multiple phases of in-person and online professional development and support. Code.org also will provide curriculum, marketing material and workshops at no cost. 

Category: Education



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