How an engineering professor who “flunked” her way through high school math and science went on to create the world’s most popular MOOC.
NYS Entity Status
NYS Filing Date
SEPTEMBER 03, 2014
NYS DOS ID#
NYS Entity Type
FOREIGN NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION
2014 - NATIONAL MATH AND SCIENCE INITIATIVE, INC.
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- How tech firms have pushed coding into American classrooms
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To help solve a “huge deficit in the skills that we need today,” Cook said, the government should do its part to make sure students learn computer programming.[...] Code.org’s goal is to get every public school in the United States to teach computer science.Computer science is also essential to U.S. tech companies, which have become heavily reliant on foreign engineers.Along the way, Code.org has emerged as a prototype for Silicon Valley education reform: a social-media-savvy entity that pushes for education policy changes, develops curricula, offers online coding lessons and trains teachers — touching nearly every facet of the education supply chain.“They have got this multipronged approach,” said Amy Klement, a partner at Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment organization started by the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam, which has given $5.5 million to Code.org.[...] its multilevel influence machine also raises the question of whether Silicon Valley is swaying public schools to serve its own interests — in this case, its need for software engineers — with little scrutiny.“If I were a state legislator, I would certainly be wondering about motives,” said Sarah Reckhow, an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University.The rise of Code.org coincides with a larger tech-industry push to remake U.S. primary and secondary schools with computers and learning apps, a market estimated to reach $21 billion by 2020.Last year, Apple rolled out a free app, called Swift Playgrounds, to teach basic coding in Swift, a programming language the company unveiled in 2014.Last month, Apple introduced a yearlong curriculum for high schools and community colleges to teach app design in Swift.Before Code.org emerged, the National Science Foundation, industry, and education experts worked for years to develop and spread computer science instruction in schools.In 2009, for instance, an engineer at Microsoft started a program called Teals (for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) that places tech company volunteers in schools to help teach the subject.Back then, the Soviet Union had just won the space race by launching Sputnik, and the United States, in an effort to catch up, passed a law to finance physics and other science courses.Together with local groups, Partovi said, Code.org and Microsoft have helped persuade 24 states to allow computer science to count toward math or science credits required for high school graduation.Along with groups like Black Girls Code, Girls Who Code and Latina Girls Code, Code.org has worked to make the subject accessible to a diverse group of students.[...] the movement has also supported legislation that could give companies enormous sway in public schools, starting with kindergarten, with little public awareness.“It gets very problematic when industry is deciding the content and direction of public education,” said Jane Margolis, a senior researcher at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.“Some people will believe that industry is going to be driving our education system forward, and that is absolutely not the case,” said Angela Hemingway, executive director of the Idaho STEM Action Center, which oversees the state’s computer science education initiative.