Yesterday in the Oval Office, joined by dozens of students, President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum expanding access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Computer Science education to K-12 students. Also in attendance were Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, as well as several congressional representatives. One of the President’s primary goals is to give Americans the opportunity to obtain the necessary education and tools that lead to good, stable jobs. The President and his Administration are determined to provide Americans, particularly young Americans, the skills they need to be competitive in the job market.
The President spoke of the importance of today’s signing, saying, “[W]e will help give our American children a pathway to success in the workforce of tomorrow.”
Now more than ever, STEM and Computer Science industries are playing a huge role in the vitality of our economy which is why high-quality education in these fields is so crucial. Unfortunately, many in America’s school system are not getting access to these subjects. Studies show that less than half of schools offer computer programming, and nearly 40 percent of high schools did not offer physics in 2015. Additionally, STEM and Computer Science education among women, minorities, and students in rural communities are limited; according to College Board, less than a quarter of those who took the Advance Placement Computer Science A exam were women.
Representative Virginia Foxx (NC-5), who also serves as the chairwoman of the Education Workforce Committee, said to the President, “We are so proud of you for doing this.” The Congresswoman went on to explain that there are currently 5.6 million jobs available to the workforce, of which many are unfilled because employees do not have the required skills. This Presidential Memorandum will help students begin to be involved in these subject matters at a young age.
President Trump recognizes the importance of expanding high-quality STEM and Computer Science education, especially for those in historically underserved groups, to better prepare the American workforce for jobs of the future. This Presidential Memorandum directs Secretary of Education DeVos to place high quality STEM education, particularly Computer Science, at the forefront of the Department of Education’s priorities, and in doing so, establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grant funds towards this priority and explore administrative actions that will add or increase focus on Computer Science in existing K-12 schools as well as post-secondary education.
In his closing remarks, the President reminded the students to always do and study what they love, saying, “Follow your hearts, and you’re going to be tremendously successful people.”
This Presidential Memorandum signing comes on the heels of the President signing the Executive Order on Expanding Apprenticeships in America in June, and kicks off several events spearheaded by Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, on the importance of computer science education in our Nation’s schools.