Computer Science Teachers Association testifies on California Bill

Yesterday the California Assembly Committee on Education unanimously passed Bill 1764. This bill would encourage districts to expand computer science courses in high schools and its passage at the critical committee level is the result of the hard work of many individuals. AB 1764 would allow school districts to award students credit for one mathematics course if they successfully complete one course in computer science approved by the University of California and/or the California State University as a “C” requirement. Such credit would only be offered in districts where the school district requires more than two courses in mathematics for graduation. AB 1764 was jointly proposed by Kristin Olsen (Assemblymember 12th District) and Joan Buchanan (Assemblymember, 16th District) and both Buchanan and Olsen spoke eloquently about the importance of computer science in preparing students for future opportunities and meeting the needs of California’s innovative industries. They also thanked the members of the committee for recognizing the need to better prepare students for the demands of the workforce. Representatives from many organizations were on hand to support the bill, including Andrea Deveau from TechNet, Amy Hirotaka from Code.org, Robyn Hines from Microsoft, and Jullie Flapan from Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS). The star of the day, however, was Josh Paley. Josh is a teacher from Gunn High School and one of the founding leaders of the CSTA Silicon Valley Chapter (among many other volunteer duties). Josh spoke passionately about the importance of making computer science courses both available and attractive to high school students. He also gave examples of many of his students who have gone on to innovative jobs as researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Speaking on behalf of the bill, Josh noted: “This legislation should not only encourage young people to move toward good, open jobs, but great jobs that drive innovation.” Having been approved by the Education Committee, 1764 will undergo some minor edits and a significant number of additional Assembly members will be added as coauthors. It will then go to the Assembly floor and then (if it passes) to the Senate Rules Committee for a committee assignment (possibly the Senate Education Committee). There is a long trip ahead for this bill but key support from the Assembly Committee on Education and all of the individuals and organizations working on behalf of computer science education in California have given it an excellent beginning. See more here.

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