Education in the 21st century has gone far beyond the three Rs or the ABCs. With a high-tech economy advancing rapidly, tech companies and schools are teaming up to prepare young people for the jobs and careers most in need in today's marketplace. Apple is leading the way with its Everyone Can Code initiative, which teams up with schools and colleges around the world to teach computer coding to students from elementary to high school. The initiative was most recently launched in the Chicago school district, where Apple CEO Tim Cook set a bold goal of teaching coding to "every public school student."
There is a similar effort underway here in Texas, called Computer Science for Texas, or CS4TX. "We know how important it is that all students in Texas will be able to have some coding skills, and what we call computational thinking skills," says Jennifer Bergland with the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA). She tells KTRH that the effort has created some challenges. "One of the biggest barriers that we have, quite frankly, is preparing our teachers and attracting teachers that can teach computer science who aren't working in the field."
Bergland believes that exposure to computer science at a younger age will help remove stigmas and encourage more young people to pursue high-tech fields. "A lot of kids, when they think of computer science, think about it as only being for the brainy kids and the geeky kids," she says. "It's important to expose kids to it so they can see that maybe they have an affinity for it, and you need to start doing that at the lower grade levels."