Coding as a way to transform a community… and lives…

Skimming the news yesterday, I came across a very interesting announcement by our current mayor. He stated that coding will become a part of the core curriculum moving forward in Chicago Public Schools. “By democratizing computer science, we are leveling the playing field for all children to have the same skills, appetite to learn, and access to technology to excel in this growing field.” This is a bold move and one that is tremendous for the students and great for the future of Chicago. I applaud the Mayor. This is an exceptional move in the educational world. The mayor and the head of CPS are giving students opportunities that many students across America will go without. This decision will change lives, create opportunities in our community, and I believe, is a great first step in helping solve one of CPS’s largest challenges: thinking progressively about education in a system that awards stagnancy and status quo. Today’s educational curriculum in broken. We fail our children as both the approach and subject matter is unsuccessful in teaching the critical thinking skills needed to operate in a global world. By challenging CPS students to embrace a new set of skills and integrating the tools needed to compete in the 21st century, the Chicago community will be transformed. The ripple effect will be even more profound as this investment will have a long term effect on the way the technology industry does business. We’ve seen through Chicago Tech Academy that you can take students that have never been exposed to coding and quickly change their lives. A workforce where coding is a core component of the curriculum, will provide a talent pool second to none in the next decade. This won’t be easy. As we have all seen, many announcements come out of the Office of the Mayor. Not all have long term substance. This one seems different. It’s a brave act of leadership on many levels and its leadership I am committed to supporting and seeing succeed. The tech industry needs to be involved. What is the call to action?

  • Industry support. We must use this effort as a way to build the technology industry as the predominant force in our economy. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as utility players to the traditional business community of Chicago. This effort could change the face of the future for the tech industry.

  • Put our people to work. We must engage with the schools directly to assure that students across the spectrum of CPS are learning what they need for the future. Only when there is a connect with industry will we be able to get what we need.

  • Financial support. We must support financially the cost of making this happen.

  • Community commitment. We can’t build a company or invest in a larger industry without investing in our great community here in Chicago.

ITA is committed to the above. We expect our members to step up in an even bigger way. What are other ways our tech community can invest in the future? What companies will step up and do big things not because it’s good for them, but because it’s good for the future of Chicago. It’s going to be exciting to watch.

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© 2020 | Fred Hoch

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