On Friday, July 15, two students from STEM School Chattanooga, Alyssa Malo and Apsara Beard, traveled to the National Governors’ Association (NGA) conference in Des Moines, Iowa to highlight the importance of having computer science education in K-12 classrooms.
Malo and Beard spoke with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad about their experiences and interest in computer science while guiding the governors through some basic coding activities.
Michael Stone, Public Education Foundation’s new STEM Director of Innovative Learning, and Kim Stanley, language arts teacher at STEM School Chattanooga, also joined the students, and explained how students can learn coding while in high school. The event was sponsored by the NGA, Code.org, and the Computer Science Education Coalition.
There is currently no dedicated federal funding stream for K-12 computer science education, although earlier this year, 27 governors joined with business and education leaders to urge Congress to invest in K-12 computer science education this year.
Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds opened the event with a talk on the gender and racial gaps in computing. She said, “High quality computer science education is not equitably available, especially for girls and underrepresented minority groups. We want to make sure that all students are offered the opportunity to explore computer science.”
Alyssa Malo, a rising sophomore, closed the event alongside Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi. Malo told the audience, “I had never coded before last year, when I participated in Code.org’s annual Hour of Code event. Now I’ve designed a video game based on my favorite book and I’ve worked with other students at STEM School Chattanooga to develop a coding camp for young girls. Computer science has opened a world of possibilities for me, and I think every student should have the opportunity to learn to code.”
“Following the event, Apsara Beard said, “It was amazing to talk with Lt. Governor Reynolds. I’m inspired to come back to Chattanooga and make a difference for my community through computer science.”
Source: Public Education Foundation