June 17, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C.– A cross-sector group of individuals and organizations from education, business, philanthropy and technology today announced a new coalition to prioritize data science in K-12 education. Known as Data Science for Everyone, the coalition is incubated at the University of Chicago’s Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change and funded by Citadel Founder and CEO and philanthropist Ken Griffin and Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.
Over the next year, Data Science for Everyone will focus on engaging states and districts in meaningful curriculum and policy reform. To that end, the coalition has launched a Commitments Campaign through which companies, districts, higher education institutions and policymakers have pledged to take specific and measurable steps to advance access to data science education for all children.
Those commitments, along with opportunities to get involved, will be highlighted at a public virtual launch event on June 28.
Inaugural members of the coalition include:
- Ken Griffin, Founder and CEO of Citadel
- Arne Duncan, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
- Jo Boaler, Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education
- Kumar Garg, Managing Director and Head of Partnerships, Schmidt Futures
- Steve Levitt, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Author of the best-selling book “Freakonomics” and Schmidt Futures Innovation Fellow
“In the 21st century, data science literacy is a foundational building block of a well-rounded education. It unlocks our ability to see and understand the world,” said Ken Griffin, lead funder of Data Science for Everyone. “This pathbreaking initiative will equip generations of students with the analytical skills they need to compete in any field they choose.”
“Computers and big data have revolutionized the world, but if you looked inside a math classroom today, you would have no idea that transformation ever occurred,” said Steve Levitt, author of “Freakonomics” and Schmidt Futures Innovation Fellow. “We simply need an update to the curriculum, and we should support our teachers in every way possible to move in that direction. Especially as we rebuild from the pandemic, this disruption is also an opportunity to reimagine how and what we teach.”
“Data will guide our students’ futures, but it is practically absent from their K-12 school experience right now. It is imperative that students understand how to explore, ask questions of, and tell the stories in data they encounter in their lives,” said Chad Dorsey, president of the Concord Consortium and an inaugural member of the coalition. “Building that ability must start now, and should occur for all students, across all grades and subject areas.”
“This past year we have seen how important it is for every American to understand data, whether it’s morbidity rates during the pandemic, statistics underlying election polls, or science supporting climate change,” said Kumar Garg, Managing Director and Head of Partnerships at Schmidt Futures. “It’s past time we give our children the opportunity to use data to understand and begin solving the problems around them.”
Leaders of Data Science For Everyone have already met with the Department of Education to outline the coalition’s priorities and emphasize the critical importance of data science expertise to economic growth and workforce development. This follows a letter sent to President Joe Biden earlier this year by more than 160 education leaders, policymakers, academics, and industry partners—which included several coalition members—urging his administration to elevate data science education in the nation’s schools.
Though data science is one of the country’s fastest growing occupations with 37 percent growth annually, few states or school districts ensure that students graduate high school with a basic command of data and only 11 percent of high school students even take a statistics course.
Data Science for Everyone is committed to changing that.
To learn more about Data Science for Everyone and read the letter sent to the Biden-Harris Administration, please visit www.datascience4everyone.org.