Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Yesterday, Washington took an important step in helping create new opportunities for our state’s children and our economy. At Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, I had the opportunity to stand with Governor Jay Inslee as he signed into law SHB 1472, making AP computer science count as a math or science course in our state’s high schools. The signing of this bill is a major step forward for the future of technology and for the future of young people in this state. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Drew Hansen, Rep. Cyrus Habib, Rep. Chad Magendanz and Rep. Roger Freeman, the bill passed with strong bipartisan support.
Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith speaking at the signing of SHB1472 at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Wash.
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Bindu Lohani, Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank.
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in how we think about solutions for global societal challenges. Take the apps revolution for a start. Apps are driving change at an incredibly fast pace - connecting millions more people to data and services. At the Asian Development Bank (ADB), we believe in the transformative power that apps will bring to citizens from all walks of life over the coming years.
This week, I am in India where ADB is holding its 46th Annual Meeting, and where we will recognize the “Apps For Asia: Redesigning Development” winners. Together with Microsoft, we’ve championed the Apps For Asia initiative, which aims to harness the creative power of hundreds of independent software developers across Asia and the Pacific to create apps that address societal challenges faced by governments, civil society and businesses in the region.
ADB provided guidance to program participants on the economic and social issues facing our 40 developing member countries and insight into their development priorities. The initiative was rolled out as a series of application training and development contests in Australia, India, Republic of Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, with the top three teams from each country exhibiting their apps at the annual meeting.
The NASDAQ Stock Market dedicated yesterday’s market close to Kids In Need of Defense.
Founded by Microsoft and Angelina Jolie in 2008, KIND’s mission is simple – ensuring due process and legal representation for unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings in the United States. The opportunity to ring the Closing Bell provided a moment in time to highlight the urgent need for more pro bono attorneys.
Every year, thousands of lone children arrive in the United States, seeking safety and stability. They have fled their homes, countries and persecution, as well as severe abuse, abandonment, violent conflict, desperate poverty, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, among other hardships.
Many are teenagers. Some are as young as two years old. Many have suffered in ways that no child should ever have to.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
On the eve of the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Microsoft, along with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and TIME, will host the Creativity Conference on Friday.
This conference will convene leaders from the world of politics, media, business and the arts to engage in a direct dialogue on the role creativity plays in our economy and in creating the workforce of the future. The event will serve as the framework for an energetic discussion of how creativity strengthens and shapes the U.S. economy.
As a leader in creativity and innovation, Microsoft understands the critical intersection between technology and the arts and its ability to drive innovation, invention and competitiveness. Creativity plays an integral role in making America a unique force on the world stage. Together, policymakers, educators, business leaders, entrepreneurs and artists can identify the key barriers and opportunities to support and expand the creative community and the economic growth driven by sectors devoted to creativity, such as the technology industry.
Posted by Jane BroomDirector of Community Affairs, Microsoft
In a global economy that’s increasingly driven by technological innovation, computer science skills have become as fundamental as the traditional “three R’s.” But unfortunately, our nation’s schools haven’t been able to keep up with the incredible pace of change. In fact, four decades after computing visionaries like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were teenagers, we still live in a country where you have to be one of the fortunate few to be exposed to this field at an early age.
The state of Washington is typical. Of the 770 public and private high schools in the Evergreen State, only 35 offer the Advanced Placement course in computer science. The scarcity of these courses has an even greater impact on students of color. Of the 542 Washington students who took the AP computer science exam last year, less than 25 were Hispanic, African-American or Native-American.
A state like Washington, whose economic health depends on the technology sector, should be a national leader in computer science education. Instead, given the needs of our economy, our current situation is a serious problem. But promising steps are being taken – both in Olympia and across the state – to help increase the availability of this foundational skill for all high school students.
One step in the right direction would be to make computer science count toward a high school graduation requirement in math or science. Only nine states do that today, and Washington isn’t one of them. When it comes to graduation requirements in our state, computer science is considered an elective on par with woodworking – hardly the way a skill that has become foundational in our culture should be addressed in our schools.