Computer science might soon become as much part of the American public school curriculum as geometry, chemistry, American literature have traditionally been if Code.org has anything to say about it.
Code.org, a one-year-old non-profit working to increase the availability of computer science courses in U.S. public schools, has announced it is partnering with 30 public school districts across the nation, including three of the top 10 largest in the country. These partnerships mean that Code.org’s efforts will reach over 2 million students, representing 5 percent of all U.S. public school students.
Code.org was founded by brothers Hadi Partovi and Ali Partovi, Silicon Valley veterans and angel investors, a little over a year ago. The organization has created an online portal through which students can take computer science lessons, and it also helps public schools offer computer science courses by training their current teachers in the organization’s curriculum. It also works with policy makers on establishing computer science as a core and important subject and was behind the well publicized “Hour of Code” campaign last December.
In its short existence, Code.org has accomplished a lot already, says cofounder and chief executive Hadi Partovi. It has influenced education policy in eight states, its curriculum is now taught in 20,000 classrooms, and 1 million students have already enrolled in its online courses.
“So few things in U.S. education are working,” he told VentureBeat. But he believes Code.org is.
One of Code.org’s biggest goals is to get state governments and school districts to recognize and treat computer science as a core subject so that its availability becomes wider and more stable. Partovi explained that there are fewer college students studying computer science now than just a couple of decades ago, and that 2001′s dot-com bust “shrunk everyone’s budget,” resulting in the cutting of many computer science programs because it was so easy to justify.