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­tah Tech Leaders Throw Down $5M Education Gauntlet at Silicon Slopes Summit

By Deseret News

February 4, 2019

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Just hours into a packed first day at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit Thursday, a group of Utah tech leaders took the stage and threw down the gauntlet on Utah lawmakers with a $5-million challenge to make a move on computer science education this session—or leave the money on the table.

Five co-founders of Utah's nonprofit tech advocacy group Silicon Slopes committed to each making a $1-million personal donation to help put computer science courses in every school in Utah.

Additionally, the group will rally Utah tech company colleagues to match, dollar for dollar, any computer science funding that comes from legislators this session in excess of $5 million.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who appeared alongside Gov. Gary Herbert for a conversation with Pluralsight co-founder and CEO Aaron Skonnard, lauded the chance for a public-private education effort and noted Utah's underperformance in public school computer science offerings.

"The private sector working with the government sector to make this happen … it doesn't happen everywhere and it's a really big deal," Cox said. "Only 54 percent of (Utah high schools) even have a computer science offering. And only around 30 percent have an Advanced Placement offering for computer science."


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