Nearly 50 business leaders, including many enterprise IT company executives, have joined dozens of governors and educational system representatives in urging Congress to support the teaching of computer science in every K-12 school across the United States.
An open letter/petition, titled "Offer Computer Science in our public schools," had accumulated more than 1,000 signatures on Change.org as of Tuesday morning. The petition was launched by the CS Education Coalition in partnership with Code.org.
Among those backing the petition are Bill and Melinda Gates, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Juniper Networks CEO Rami Rahim, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
While computer science has attracted a growing number of students, as evidenced by a building boom on college campuses, supporters of the petition say much more needs to be done in light of more than 1 in 10 job openings in the United States being in computing fields, such as programming. The petition reads in part:
"Technology is transforming society at an unprecedented rate. Whether it’s smartphones or social networks, self-driving cars or personalized medicine, nothing embodies the American Dream so much as the opportunity to change or even reinvent the world with technology. And participating in this world requires access to computer science in our schools. We ask you to provide funding for every student in every school to have an opportunity to learn computer science."
The CS Education Coalition says that $48 million in new private contributions have been committed to the cause, including fresh $10 million pledges by Google and Microsoft. The petition urges Congress to approve $250 million in federal funding to enable school districts to begin offering or broaden their computer science courses.