Why is math so important? They've been telling me that ever since grade school, but as someone who ultimately never took more than Algebra and never took any logic classes, I was still able to get a full-time programming job and many part-time ones before that. Granted, it's a tiny company paying nowhere near Silicon Valley wages, but if CS is to be open to all students, most future CS jobs will be like that: commodity coders writing small-business pages and apps, not the Next Big Thing. Most of the money isn't in some amazing new tech anyway, just collecting data and selling to advertisers: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. A few people at those companies might do serious R&D and AI algorithms, but a whole bunch more are doing less interesting things.
If you're not in game physics or science, what's all the fancy math for? I've never needed to do anything more than addition/subtraction/multiplication/division and maybe some very basic statistics.
Maybe it's a matter of semantics? I think what Obama meant by CS is more just "basic programming", meaning how to write a basic script or a PHP page or something, not writing 3D game engines or managing pointers and stacks and all that.
There aren't that many high-end, tough physics/engineering/CS jobs to go around. Commodity coding is just going to be another basic business skill, the way everyone is expected to know how to use basic Word and Excel. It's not that hard to take that a step further and produce Visual Basic business apps. You don't need fancy math for that...
If they spent less time on skills most of the population will never use and more on things like civics and politics, shit, maybe the populace could actually effect socioeconomic change in their favor instead of switching one menial task for another, one megacorp for another. There will be nothing glorious about coding in 15-20 years, and everyone will know the basics, and they'll still go home poor and wonder why they're stuck writing invisible code for shitty employers and getting yelled at by angry customers who think their job is trivial because they've all learned basic programming too. Whoop-dee-doo.
CS/engineering/physics/etc are false saviors for this country's much deeper economic injustices. We sell our children delusions, making them believe each and every one of them could become an astronaut/president/engineer/computer scientist when the vast, vast majority of them will go to work every day working a meaningless job earning pennies to enrich a few majority stockholders they'll never see... and we wonder why they grow up cynical and apathetic?