CHICAGO (WLS) — Google teamed up with Chance the Rapper to bring computer science education to Chicago Public Schools.
The tech giant donated $1 million to the hip hop star’s nonprofit, SocialWorks, which promotes youth empowerment through the arts, education and civic engagement.
“The research says that 65 percent of grade school kids are going to be working in careers that don’t exist today and it’s important for those kids to learn the skills for tomorrow,” said Justin Steele, Google.org.
Google also gave $500,000 to Children First Fund to support computer science programming at CPS.
Google officials said the company believes computer science is a critical part of education and helps students and educators develop technical skills for the future.
Chance the Rapper surprised students at Adam Clayton Powell Paideia Community Academy in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood to announce the donation Wednesday morning.
The students had just participated in a Google coding workshop, which aims to get young people excited about the subject and shows them how it’s relevant to their day-to-day.
“They were really looking forward to it and I’ve never seen them this engaged ever,” said Azure Addison, a teacher at Paideia Community Academy.
The visit comes as some watchdog groups and some parents of CPS students protest the district’s ongoing closure and consolidation plan, which includes most recently the shuttering of four schools in the city’s Englewood community in part because of shrinking enrollment.
“We’re close to 600 students. Last year, we were at 550 students. So when most schools in the district are struggling obtaining students we’re actually over our projection,” Principal Sheila Barlow said.
Once the initial shock of seeing Chance the Rapper wore off, students headed to an assembly where they were given backpacks and other goodies along with a message about the need for equitable school funding.
“Y’all not getting the same thing these other kids is getting and it’s not fair. I want y’all to know that,” Chance said.
But for Gabriella Dike, it was just great to have the support to know she can achieve her dreams.
“And it’s a great feeling if you do have Chance the Rapper and Google and Scholastic come to our school,” she said.