The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.
From the White House – Weekly Address
In this week’s address, the President discussed his plan to give all students across the country the chance to learn computer science (CS) in school. The President noted that our economy is rapidly shifting, and that educators and business leaders are increasingly recognizing that CS is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity. The President referenced his Computer Science for All Initiative, which provides $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million directly for districts in his upcoming budget; and invests more than $135 million beginning this year by the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service to support and train CS teachers. The President called on even more Governors, Mayors, education leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, creative media and technology professionals, and others to get involved in the efforts.
Transcript: Weekly Address: Giving Every Student an Opportunity to Learn Through Computer Science For All
Remarks of President Barack Obama as Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address, The White House, January 30, 2016
Hi everybody. As I said in my State of the Union address, we live in a time of extraordinary change – change that’s affecting the way we live and the way we work. New technology replaces any job where work can be automated. Workers need more skills to get ahead. These changes aren’t new, and they’re only going to accelerate. So the question we have to ask ourselves is, “How can we make sure everyone has a fair shot at success in this new economy?”
The answer to that question starts with education. That’s why my Administration has encouraged states to raise standards. We’ve cut the digital divide in our classrooms in half. We’ve worked with Congress to pass a bipartisan bill to set the expectation that every student should graduate from high school ready for college and a good job. And thanks to the hard work of students, teachers, and parents across the country, our high school graduation rate is at an all-time high.
Now we have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future – which means not just being able to work with computers, but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy. Today’s auto mechanics aren’t just sliding under cars to change the oil; they’re working on machines that run on as many as 100 million lines of code. That’s 100 times more than the Space Shuttle. Nurses are analyzing data and managing electronic health records. Machinists are writing computer programs. And workers of all kinds need to be able to figure out how to break a big problem into smaller pieces and identify the right steps to solve it.
In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill – it’s a basic skill, right along with the three “Rs.” Nine out of ten parents want it taught at their children’s schools. Yet right now, only about a quarter of our K through 12 schools offer computer science. Twenty-two states don’t even allow it to count toward a diploma.
So I’ve got a plan to help make sure all our kids get an opportunity to learn computer science, especially girls and minorities. It’s called Computer Science For All. And it means just what it says – giving every student in America an early start at learning the skills they’ll need to get ahead in the new economy.
First, I’m asking Congress to provide funding over the next three years so that our elementary, middle, and high schools can provide opportunities to learn computer science for all students.
Second, starting this year, we’re leveraging existing resources at the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service to train more great teachers for these courses.
And third, I’ll be pulling together governors, mayors, business leaders, and tech entrepreneurs to join the growing bipartisan movement around this cause. Americans of all kinds – from the Spanish teacher in Queens who added programming to her classes to the young woman in New Orleans who worked with her Police Chief to learn code and share more data with the community – are getting involved to help young people learn these skills. And just today, states like Delaware and Hawaii, companies like Google and SalesForce, and organizations like Code.org have made commitments to help more of our kids learn these skills.
That’s what this is all about – each of us doing our part to make sure all our young people can compete in a high-tech, global economy. They’re the ones who will make sure America keeps growing, keeps innovating, and keeps leading the world in the years ahead. And they’re the reason I’ve never been more confident about our future.
Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.
This past week, the president released new rules regarding solitary confinement in federal prisons. The rules were the result of a report from the Justice Department.
President Obama: “Why We Must Rethink Solitary Confinement” from Facebook:
From that op-ed:
The Justice Department report:
The recommendations are here Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing.
President Obama on Advancing Equal Pay:
From the White House: FACT SHEET: New Steps to Advance Equal Pay on the Seventh Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The most important is a new data gathering requirement:
ThinkProgress has more:
Next week the president will meet with House Speaker Paul “Punyheart” Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Obstruction McConnell to discuss the legislative agenda for 2016. Included in the things that will be ignored by Congress is the issue of child hunger in America.
The White House held a symposium about the issue this past week.
One of those initiatives will require Congressional funding:
The president also spoke at the House Democratic Issues Conference this past week.
Video and full transcript here:
Hey, thanks, Jan! This is full of good news. Very pleased to hear about these issues. Of course, they’re Trumped by the lamestream media.
Re the issue of computer learning—Congress apparently included a little Christmas present in its end-of-year legislation last month. I didn’t really know about this until I received an email. It seems that 529 programs, to which I contribute for my grandchildren, have been amended to allow the purchase of computers for college-bound children. Before, the money was allowed only for room, board, books, and tuition.
So pleased to have President Obama as our POTUS!
I am glad to see them add flexibility to the use of the money. A good computer is essential nowadays.
In the News: South Carolina’s plan to track Syrian refugees …
It is difficult to imagine any group being willing to sponsor a family under those circumstances.
Nothing racist about that! And of course Irishmen have never been involved in any acts of violence, ever.
Dear Goddess, these people are as vicious as only the stupid can be.
How can they look at their faces in the mirror in the morning?
A presidential proclamation – February 1st: