Raimondo promotes high-tech learning during Martin visit

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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.

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