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Tennessee to Train Compsci Teachers in Over 70 Districts

Funded by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Tennessee nonprofits CodeCrew and CSforALL will organize training for qualified instructors to teach new computer science courses throughout the state.

Officials in Tennessee are planning to establish new computer science courses throughout the state’s public education system to meet a growing demand for professionals in the field.

According to a news release this week, two nonprofits, the Memphis-based training organization CodeCrew and the K-12 advocacy group CSforALL, will share a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to organize the training of qualified instructors for new courses in over 70 school districts throughout Tennessee.

"Our work will increase and positively impact computer science education on a statewide level," CodeCrew Executive Director Meka Egwuekwe said in a public statement. "Computer science education is foundational, and this grant will help ensure we are strategic as we guide Tennessee school districts in bringing the incredible value of computer science education to our state's students."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the need for computer science professionals will grow by 13 percent between 2020 and 2030. This looming possibility has not escaped the attention of educators and lawmakers alike, who have tried in recent years to boost compsci education requirements in states such as Rhode Island, New Mexico, Kansas and Arkansas. The new compsci training effort from CodeCrew and CSforALL comes as Tennessee lawmakers prepare for their next legislative session to consider HB 754/SB 1427, which would require every district to establish computer science courses within the next five years, and to report to the state about course accessibility.

Gov. Bill Lee said the new grant will prove vital in expanding compsci throughout Tennessee, where only about half the state's schools currently teach it.

"The jobs of today and tomorrow increasingly rely on technology. This NSF grant and its focus on preparing school districts across the state to teach computer science aligns closely with our Future Workforce Initiative," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said in a statement. "With both of these innovative initiatives statewide, we intend to make Tennessee a top state for job creation in STEM."