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Businesses Give $300M Toward K-12 Computer Science Education

  • Associated Press

FILE - Second-grader Josh Mercado, left, helps kindergartner Erik Hodges, as second-grader Annabelle Davis, right, helps kindergartner Kaidyance Harris, on programming during their weekly computer science lesson at Marshall Elementary School in Marysville, Wash., Nov. 4, 2015.

A coalition of businesses including Amazon, Google and General Motors has agreed to give $300 million to boost K-12 computer science programs across the U.S.

Internet Association CEO Michael Beckerman announced Tuesday that the private-sector contribution will come in over the next five years. Beckerman led a panel discussion at a downtown Detroit high-rise that featured President Donald Trump's daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump.

Her visit to Detroit came a day after the president announced a plan to spend at least $200 million annually on competitive grants so schools can broaden access to computer science education.

FILE - Ivanka Trump applauds during an event at the State Department in Washington, June 27, 2017.
FILE - Ivanka Trump applauds during an event at the State Department in Washington, June 27, 2017.

"Knowing how to code is really foundational toward success in any industry, not just tech narrowly defined," Ivanka Trump said.

Just before Ivanka Trump arrived on stage, Beckerman announced the private-sector contribution.

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.org are giving $50 million apiece; Lockheed Martin is promising $25 million; Accenture is committing more than $10 million; and General Motors and Pluralsight have pledged $10 million toward the effort. Additionally, Detroit-based Quicken Loans announced that it will work to make sure that 15,000 Detroit Public Schools students receive computer science training.

Ivanka Trump said it is crucial that young people, especially girls and racial minorities, learn how to write computer code and study computer science.

"We have to do better. We are going to do better, and this is a giant leap forward in that direction," she said during the panel discussion, which also included Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans; Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org; Rob Acker, CEO of Salesforce.org; and Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin.

Gilbert said teaching schoolchildren computer science "isn't one of these things where maybe this will work.

"This is the answer. This is flat-out the answer," said Gilbert, who also owns the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA.

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