This story was originally published in the East Providence Post on March 17, 2016. Thanks to the Post for allowing MMS to repost the article. http://eastbayri.com/east-providence/stories/gov-raimondo-gets-robotics-lessons-at-martin-middle-school,20058?
Tour promotes launch of new computer science education initiative
As part of her roll out for the state’s first comprehensive computer science education initiative, Governor Gina M. Raimondo visited students and instructors of the technology program at Edward R. Martin Middle School last week.
Gov. Raimondo, along city and school officials as well as local education leaders, toured the Martin’s Google classroom and spoke with students about computer science and technology.
“Computer science is the new basic skill,” Gov. Raimondo said. “Programs like the one at Edward R. Martin Middle School are exactly what our students need to be competitive in the job market. Our Computer Science for RI (CS4RI) initiative will give kids an edge, so that they can get good jobs that pay, and Rhode Island becomes an innovation center for years to come.”
Earlier last week, Gov. Raimondo launched the CS4RI computer science education program. The effort, in partnership with Microsoft, Code.org, colleges and universities across Rhode Island, and others, seeks to help every public school in Rhode Island teach computer science classes by December 2017.
CS4RI will: Give kids the skills they need, starting in kindergarten, to access the skills they need to be successful; Stop the brain drain by creating partnerships between our schools and businesses to raise awareness about the opportunities open right now in the Rhode Island; Help kids get jobs that pay by giving them the 21st century skills they need; Attract 21st century businesses to invest in Rhode Island by demonstrating a commitment to building a pipeline of trained and talented workers; Address disparities so we create opportunities to ensure that everyone can “make it in Rhode Island.”
The governor’s current budget proposal includes $260,000 to support the expansion of CS pro- gramming to be available to every student in all of Rhode Island’s schools.
“Our kids deserve the best opportunities in the 21st century tech-driven economy, so we need to do everything we can to help them get ahead by developing the skills that matter,” Gov. Raimondo said. “Part of turning our economy around and creating jobs is mak- ing sure every student, at every level, has access to the new basic skill: computer science. Thanks to the partners we have assembled for this initiative, I know we can achieve this goal.”
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training projects by 2022 there will be more than 4,000 openings in computer and math jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the median annual wage for computer and IT jobs is about $80,000.
According to the governor’s office, to increase computer science options across all grades, education must on focus engaging community partners and resources and support schools and teachers on expanding their offerings. The data suggests that Rhode Island has a long way to go: AP Computer Science is offered inanely 9 public high schools, and no Title I schools; Only 1 percent of RI public high school students are currently enrolled in CS courses; Only 42 Rhode Island public high school students took the Comput- er Science AP test in 2015
For more information on the program visit governor.ri.gov and click on CS4RI.