U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will visit Springdale High School in Springdale, Arkansas, on Friday, April 15, to promote the importance of a well-rounded education and to discuss the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). King will visit a classroom and hold a roundtable discussion with Computer Science for All supporters and implementers. He will hold a media availability after the event.
A background in science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects commonly referred to as STEM, which includes computer science—opens up many career opportunities for young people. Knowledge and skills in these critical areas increasingly are becoming necessary for success in our global, knowledge-based economy. That’s why President Obama has proposed the Computer Science for All initiative, to give every student in America an early start on the skills they will need to get ahead. The President’s budget this year will include $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million directly for districts, to increase access to K-12 computer science by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials and building effective regional partnerships.
Arkansas has become a leader in computer science education since Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law a bill requiring all Arkansas high schools to start offering computer science classes. Every high school is offering coding this school year to help students learn what coding is and to develop a skill that they can take into the workforce. The legislation also included $5 million in funding for the Computer Science initiative to help assist schools and teachers with professional development, training, resources for students and more. Several states have passed Computer Science initiatives; however, Arkansas is one of only a few states that have provided funding to support such. Over the summer, 130 Arkansas teachers received state-funded professional development to learn how to teach coding classes, and additional teachers are receiving training throughout the school year. Through innovative programs like this one, states can help to ensure equity and excellent educational opportunities for all students. Arkansas educators and schools are doing the hard work of turning a call to action from the governor and state legislators into real opportunities for kids.
Springdale High offers four specialized academy tracts—Information Technology, Engineering, Law and Public Safety and Medical—as well as the International Baccalaureate program. Springdale High is also a pilot school for the newly created College Board Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles course.
ESSA, which was signed into law by President Obama in December, creates the opportunity to ensure a well-rounded education for all students—an education that not only includes strong numeracy and literacy, but provides all students with access to science, social studies, the arts, physical education and health, and the opportunity to learn a second language. The U.S. Department of Education is taking action across a range of areas to support states and districts in ensuring schools provide a rich range of offerings.