New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce Wednesday that the city’s public schools will be required to offer classes in computer science to all students within the next 10 years, The New York Times reports.
The announcement will come as part of a greater speech on education policy, which focuses on sending resources to the schools and children most in need, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The city is willing to spend $81 million over the next 10 years in support of that goal, according to The Times, though it hopes to raise half of those funds from donors.
Many private schools already offer computer-science classes while public schools have difficulty obtaining qualified teachers to support similar programs.
De Blasio’s 10-year goal will require a lot of work. The city’s Department of Education estimates that fewer than 10 percent of its schools offer computer science and that only 1% of students end up actually receiving computer-science education.
On top of that, the city may have to train up to 5,000 teachers in a state that provides no computer-science teaching certification. The development of such a certification may end up a requirement for the program’s implementation.
After his speech, de Blasio will be hosting a Google Hangout with 15 seventh- and eighth-grade computer-science students from MS 223 in the South Bronx, along with their computer-science teacher.
The need for programming and computer-science classes for New York City students is compounded by the growth of the city’s tech sector, which grew 57% between 2007 and 2014.
Students want the classes, too. National demand for the Advanced Placement test in computer science increased 25% last year from the year before, with nearly 50,000 students taking the test.
Increasing access to computer-science education across schools of all income levels may help to address the demographic homogeneity in the US tech industry. Google’s demographic report revealed a company that is 70 percent male and 61% white.
The same gender divide was reflected in the demographics of New York City’s AP computer-science test this past year. The test-takers were 71% male.
Nationally in 2013, females made up 18.6% of the test-takers, black students made up 3.7%, and Hispanic students made up 8.1%, according to statistics provided by the Georgia Tech College of Computing.
In the same year, Montana, Mississippi, and Wyoming had no females take the test – the latter two had one and zero tests administered, respectively. Eleven states had no black students take the test, and eight states had no Hispanic students take the test.
Here’s the announcement for the speech: