Under fire for using private email at the White House, first daughter and aide Ivanka Trump headed out of D.C. Tuesday, making a solo swing to Detroit to talk abut new public and private investments into teaching more American kids to code.
She said the goal of having computer science classes taught at every public school in five years was ‘incredibly doable’ and she wanted to ‘create excitement and enthusiasm’ for the subject as well, especially among minorities and young girls.
‘I do think we live in a time where we’re all so inspired by entrepreneurship and innovation … and so I think that coding can be aspirational, it should be aspirational, it should be exciting, we need to make it exactly that for our students,’ Ivanka Trump said during a panel discussion organized by the Internet Association, a group that represents a majority of brand-name internet companies.
First daughter Ivanka Trump, a top White House aide, visited Detroit Tuesday to talk about a new public and private commitment to get coding taught in public schools
Ivanka Trump (right) sat alongside Code.org’s Hadi Partovi (left) who talked about how public schools weren’t equal, especially in access to STEM
Ivanka Trump’s panel discussion was sponsored by the Internet Association, a trade group that represents internet companies, many of which committed money to getting technology courses in public schools
As for the initiative, yesterday the White House announced a $200 million commitment for Department of Education grants to go toward funding STEM and computer science education in K-12 schools.
That sum was more than matched by internet and tech companies Tuesday, with $300 million in private funds allocated to be spent on educational endeavors.
Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Salesforce committed $50 million each, while Lockheed Martin pledged $25 million for the effort and Accenture, General Motors and Pluralsight each giving $10 million, according to the White House pool report.
Since taking a role in her father’s White House, Ivanka Trump has spoken about matching curriculum with plausible job opportunities and she continued that theme today.
But she also advised that kids needed to not just be coding for their future career’s sake – explaining that the skill set could be fun to learn and should inspire passion too.
‘I think just generally when you’re young that is the point in time where you should, with wild abandon, really see what it is that you enjoy doing,’ she said.
She suggested kids should try a lot of things, though also pointed out that the opportunity for learning computer science should be there.
‘Because one of the lessons that I grew up with and I found to be true my whole life, the people who really achieve great things, the people who are successful in the context of their company or business leaders running a company, they are all deeply passionate and love what they do,’ Ivanka Trump said.
On Monday, President Trump signed an order to give $200 million in Department of Education grants to the cause of increasing access to STEM course work. While internet companies today pledged $300 million toward the cause
Ivanka Trump (center) stands alongside Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (back left) as President Trump signs a memorandum that allocates $200 million in Department of Education grants to enhancing STEM education in public schools
On the panel, she sat alongside Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi who drew attention to who public schools across the US aren’t equal, which is particularly problematic when it comes to STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – course work.
‘A student’s chance to study shouldn’t be about the neighborhood they grew up [in] or the color of her skin,’ he argued.
He also applauded the private-sector companies for getting involved.
‘Americans expect [their] tech industry to address these things and today they are putting their money where their mouth is,’ Partovi said.
The first daughter will be putting her own words into action Wednesday when she visits a school, alongside Partovi and Microsoft President Brad Smith to help kids learn code.
Ivanka Trump already got a dose of coding education over the summer, alongside her daughter Arabella, though recently admitted it turned into the six-year-old instructing her.
‘Tomorrow we’re going to be coding in a public school and as part of a mission to get kids and students excited about code,’ the first daughter told the crowd today. ‘I look forward to continuing to do that.’