On Friday, in an op ed in the NY Daily News, New York City’s schools chancellor Carmen Fariña made a strong case for teaching coding in schools. She argues that if we want students to “go out into the world knowing they can do anything” then it is crucial to teach them STEM skills, particularly coding. She goes on to say, “we’re training the next generation of citizens and our future workforce.”
Chancellor Fariña believes that a key to success is “bringing together our public and private sectors to create more STEM programs available to students of all ages” and mentions three programs supported by AT&T that partner with DOE: the Software Engineering Pilot (“SEP”), Girls Who Code, and Pathfinders. We wholeheartedly agree and are proud to partner with all three of these excellent programs. Codesters hosts interns from Pathfinders and provides our platform and coding curriculum to SEP schools and to Girls Who Code clubs across the US.
Chancellor Fariña is joined by other city leaders, prominent institutions, and corporations in the work to expand coding in schools. The New York City Foundation for Computer Science (“CSNYC”), started by venture capitalist Fred Wilson, funds programs such as SEP and district schools such as the Academy for Software for Software Engineering (“AFSE”). CSNYC has already helped bring coding education to 100 schools as part of its mission to “to ensure that all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students have access to a high-quality computer science education”. Microsoft, together with CSNYC, support the TEALS program that brings volunteer software engineers into city public high schools to teach coding. Google has launched CSFirst, creating new after-school coding clubs across the city. And under the leadership of Senior Director of K-12 education, Diane Levitt, the city’s investment in Cornell Tech is already producing tangible outcomes in growing coding programs in the city’s public schools.
Working directly with, and listening to, local communities in neighborhoods across the city will be key to the success of these efforts. In Brooklyn, Borough President Eric Adams is collaborating with CEC members, community leaders, principals, teachers, and parents on a campaign to make Brooklyn the first of the boroughs to offer coding in every school, which an emphasis on helping schools with less economically less advantaged communities. Adams sees that a critical success factor to these efforts to expand coding in schools will be the input, buy-in, and support of all New Yorkers.
What all these leaders recognize is that getting coding into schools is a means to ensuring that all students have access to opportunities in our future economy. Fariña’s statements and these various city and local initiatives are signs that New York City is arriving at the critical moment when we rise to the challenge of getting coding into schools. The Codesters team is excited to be part of the movement and I am personally inspired by the leadership I am witnessing.