has announced a new commitment of $75 million over three years in support of its initiative to expand access to computer science education for youth — especially those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Launched in 2012 with a three-year, $500 million commitment, YouthSpark supports nonprofit organizations around the world with cash grants and other resources to provide computer science education and equip youth with the computational-thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for success in an increasingly digital world. The new funds will bolster those efforts, including the flagship Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, which pairs tech professionals with educators to team-teach computer science in U.S. high schools. TEALS aims to grow fivefold over the next three years to reach thirty thousand students in seven hundred schools across thirty-three states. Microsoft executives told that the goal is to expand the program to four thousand schools over the next decade, with a focus on urban and rural districts, to reach more young women and minorities.
Microsoft's efforts also will support , which provides resources designed to inspire youth about the full spectrum of computing skills, ranging from digital literacy to computer science engineering, as well as opportunities to participate in activities such as DigiGirlz and YouthSpark Live.
Microsoft's announcement is the latest example of increasing support for computer science education in K-12 schools in the U.S. Earlier this week, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced an aimed at providing, among other things, computer science classes in every one of the city's elementary, middle, and high schools by 2025, in partnership with the , , and the . Officials told the the city would match donations toward the $81 million cost of the ten-year commitment, for which organizers are still recruiting donors.
"Computer science is a foundational subject — like algebra, chemistry, or physics — for learning how the world works, yet it's offered in less than 25 percent of American high schools," said Microsoft president Brad Smith. "We need to increase access to computer science and computational thinking for all students, especially those from diverse populations, by partnering across the industry and with teachers and schools to turn this situation around and change the paradigm for developing a more diverse tech talent pipeline."