Today, a major K-12 education overhaul took one step closer to becoming law when the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, a bill that will reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This legislation will increase access to STEM and computer science learning nationwide and will advance some of the goals outlined in Microsoft’s National Talent Strategy. And its passage comes at a unique time during Computer Science Education Week, which is intended to highlight the importance of computer science education.
Specifically, the legislation:
- Supports professional development for educators to promote high-quality instruction and instructional leadership in STEM, including computer science.
- Maintains a STEM Master Teacher Corps program, which allows the Secretary of Education to award grants to state educational agencies to develop such teacher corps, or to fund grants to support the implementation, replication or expansion of effective STEM professional development across the state.
- Creates a new $1.6 billion “Student Support and Academic Enrichment” grant program that allows states to support school districts carrying out a variety of activities, including increasing student access to “high quality courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including computer science.”
- Establishes a definition of “well-rounded” which includes courses, activities, and programs across many subjects, including computer science.
- Maintains the 21 Century Community Learning Centers (after school) program, which will now include programs that build skills in STEM, including computer science, and support nontraditional STEM education teaching methods.
A report from the Alliance for Science & Technology Research predicts that within the next decade, over half of all jobs nationwide will be STEM-related, with a significant portion of those jobs classified as computing professions. For that reason, Microsoft is encouraged by the advancements in this act, and we applaud the leadership of HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Washington), as well as House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minnesota) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) in advancing this strong, bipartisan legislation.