Thursday, December 18, 2014

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De Blasio Visits Bronx Software Academy to Highlight Tech Push

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When it comes to running the school system, Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will do most things very differently than Mayor Bloomberg, but in his first visit to a K-12 classroom since taking office, de Blasio promoted the expansion of a major Bloomberg initiative. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering, he grabbed a pen and paper to take notes on what the students were learning on their laptops.

In the afternoon, his wife, Chirlane McCray, joined the Chancellor at the Internet Week headquarters where sixth graders from the Bronx taught them about coding and high school students from Brooklyn showed off engineering projects.

The message of all this: the city will continue to invest in technology, both as a teaching tool and as something students should study.

It's a committement Mayor de Blasio made from the start. In February, he set a goal that in eight years, the majority of skilled tech jobs in New York will be filled by graduates of city schools.

To get there, de Blasio plans to ramp up several projects—all started by the previous administration—like the school and courses highlighted on Wednesday.

"We saw what the constant focus on technology brings—how it opens up worlds for kids, how it empowers them, how it opens up limitless possibilities. We want that for every child in this city, regardless of background, regardless of neighborhood, regardless of zipcode, this has to become the norm," de Blasio said.

He says regardless of gender, though that may be one of the biggest challenges. Girls represent 14 percent of the students at Bronx Software Engineering, where students are accepted based on interest alone. We asked Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña if there are plans to address that.

"We have to get more proactive about going to middle schools and having the girls who are presently here be the spokespeople. I think we also need to make parents understand, this is really a major way to have a really good job and that, also, is kind of sexy, if you think about it," says Fariña.

So they're working to make it cool.

"If you really know how to code, you can help create the next big thing," McCray says.

The mayor hopes by investing in tech, the next big thing will come out of city public schools. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP