America’s elite institutions came out in full force for computer science education. First, the House of Representatives voted to update its traditional students arts competition to include a nationwide mobile apps competition. Then, to top off the day, the nation’s leading geeks, from Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates, helped launch a national nonprofit to encourage young programmers.
For now, the congressional competition will include students from each congressional district and “initially focus on developing applications for mobile, tablet and computer platforms” reviewed by community leaders and entrepreneurs in these fields. However, given that technology rapidly changes over time, the competition has been designed with the ability to evolve for the future,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (CrunchGov Grade: A), who is one of TechCrunch’s Most Innovative People In Democracy.
“This program will introduce students to STEM fields and encourage those who are already interested to explore them,” says Matt Lira, senior advisor to Cantor.
The near-unanimous passage of the bill to authorize the competition signals an important turning point in the focus of American priorities, as it recognizes science, technology, education, and math (STEM) as essential to an innovative society (and, the role of government in encouraging STEM)
To make the day even better, a super-powered coalition of technologists are supporting Code.org’s mission to make computer programming part of the national education curriculum. The mission also seems to have the support of President Obama, who said during his post-State of The Union Google+ Hangout that he thinks mandating computer programming “makes sense.”
High five, America!