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Code.org Raises $12 Million from Bill Gates and Other Backers

05 December 2017
Code.org Raises $12 Million from Bill Gates and Other Backers

This week, students and teachers across the globe will participate in coding activities and promote computer science education in schools.

The week, which was organized by Code.org, kicked off with a livestreamed discussion with prominent female tech leaders such as Melinda Gates, Peggy Johnson, Sheryl Sandberg and Susan Wojcicki.

More than 70 school districts agreed to expand computer-science education in some way, Code.org said.

Organizers believe middle school is the ideal age to introduce girls to opportunities they could have in high school. In fifth grade, the students even write part of the code.

Students try out the Minecraft Tutorial in Tesla STEM High School in Redmond Washington
Students try out the Minecraft Tutorial in Tesla STEM High School in Redmond Washington

"This is an all-hands-on-deck week for us at Microsoft", said Jane Broom, senior director of education programs and policy at Microsoft Philanthropies.

When Code.org started four years ago, it couldn't get a single school district to commit to teaching computer science in every high school. The hour is an introduction to computer science to show the girls that anyone can learn the basics. This year's Computer Science Education Week started today and runs through December 10. Code.org, which has raised more than $60 million from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Salesforce, was one of the first companies to tap into the demand for preteen programming literacy.

In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available in the U.S.by 2020 and only 400,000 graduates with computer science skills. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he thinks coding classes should be required in every public school, stating that "it's the language that everyone needs, and not just for the computer scientists". "But, at the same time, we see many young people underrepresented, and those young people are too often girls and minorities".

"I like how if you mess up with one thing, the whole thing is done for, and you have to restart".