As we’ve written many times earlier, there is a serious problem facing the American economy. The US economy is driven by technology and innovation. Unfortunately, a lot of the manpower needed to make this happen is imported on an annual basis even if the US continues to outsource its IT and import manpower from India and other countries, it still won’t have enough engineers to satisfy the huge demand of technology companies. This can have serious consequences for America’s technological leadership in the world. Your economy is only as good as your labor supply.
It appears that this problem has been recognized, not just by technology companies and venture capital funds, but also by teachers. This is why there is a 25 state petition going on where teachers are pushing local and state education boards to add computer science as a mandatory course for high school students to graduate. This is big news. Currently, computer science is purely unelectable. In other words, it’s on the same level as wood shop, plastics, metal working, auto mechanics and home economics. If this initiative passes, students will be compelled to take at least a minimum load of computer science. This is a very important step. Why? First of all, it would eliminate a lot of the stigma surrounding computer science and engineering in general. Let’s face it. In the United States, if you’re good at Math or good at Science, you’re instantly labeled the nerd, or a geek or a dweeb. In other words, you’re a social leper. That’s why a lot of young people, especially young women, stay away from anything that smacks of nerdy.
The biggest thing in high school and junior high of course is to fit in and you would stick out like a thumb if you’re in the computer science class. With this mandatory curriculum adjustment being pushed to make computer science unit mandatory, this would go a long way and eliminate stigma. Just as importantly, it would also open many kids’ mind to the powerful worlds that they can create if they just knew how to code, so overall, this is a great first start. While the California initiative already has 5,364 supporters, it’s still not enough. We need more awareness regarding this issue and this has to be a nationwide push. While President Obama is doing his part, media outlets, opinion leaders and institutions should get behind this initiative because it can really be a game changer.