Program Will Provide Grants to Elementary and Middle Schools for Teacher Development in Computer Science and Engineering
Applications for the Smart Start Program Are Available Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $6 million in funding is available for elementary and middle schools through the Smart Start Computer Science Program. Smart Start works to expand high-quality computer science education by offering teacher support and resources in computer science and technology for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Schools across the state are eligible to apply, and preference will be given to high-need schools. Applications are due November 19, 2019 and are available here.
"New York is making unprecedented investments in computer science education and preparing the next generation of New Yorkers for the jobs of tomorrow," Governor Cuomo said. "The Smart Start program will provide our youngest learners with the tools and resources they need to succeed in this thriving industry and level the playing field for young men and women who do not currently have access to computer science."
Technology is among the fastest growing and highest paying sectors today making computer science education at even younger ages more important than ever before. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, the majority of New York public schools still do not offer computer science programs in the classroom.
"We want to make sure all students have access to high-quality programs in the STEM fields," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Through the Smart Start Program, funding will be provided for support and resources in elementary and middle schools across the state to ensure our young people learn computer science and engineering skills at a young age. This program is part of our overall effort to invest in high-tech learning opportunities to make sure students, especially girls and minorities, have equal opportunities for success and help eliminate the skills gap."
Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said, "The Board of Regents and I are committed to ensuring that every child has equitable access to the highest quality educational opportunities. It's critical that we continue to expand the movement to make computer science a fundamental part of New York State education to better prepare students them for life in the 21st century world we live in."
Interim State Education Commissioner Beth Berlin said, "Expanding the integration of technology into teaching and learning is of utmost importance in preparing our students for college, careers and citizenship. We know that our students need an education that prepares them to use and even develop the new technologies that will solve the world's most complex problems. By supporting our teachers and expanding computer science to students in the early grades, we're giving them the tools to find success in school and beyond."
Additionally, there is a wide gender gap in the students studying computer science. According to data from the College Board, although more girls than boys take Advanced Placement exams (over 55 percent of New York test takers are female), girls comprised only 27 percent of the test takers for AP Computer Science. This funding, first announced as part of the Governor's Women's Agenda, will help ensure that the next generation of students are ready to succeed in computer science and technology.