Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ACCESS Applauds Recent Computer Science Education Bills in California

October 1, 2014

Computer Science Counts in California! Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools supports the Governor’s signing of AB 1765, SB 1200 and AB 1539, demonstrating his commitment to expanding computer science education in California

Irvine, CA – The Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS) applauds the Governor’s support to expand computer science education in California.

Demonstrating widespread public support, ACCESS garnered over 10,000 signatures on a petition to make computer science count in California. According to Julie Flapan, Executive Director of ACCESS, “These bills have the potential to expand opportunities and increase participation in computer science education, though hard work remains to ensure these opportunities are equally accessible for underrepresented students in computer science – girls, low-­‐income students and students of color.”
  • AB 1764 allows school districts to award students credit for one mathematics course if they successfully complete a University of California-­‐approved course in computer science. This credit would only be offered in districts where the school district requires more than two courses in mathematics for graduation. 
  • SB 1200 calls on the UC and California State University systems to develop guidelines for high school computer science courses that would satisfy an advanced math subject matter requirement for purposes of undergraduate admissions. Clear guidelines will help high schools establish advanced computer science courses in a manner that is consistent with admissions standards. 
  • AB 1539 requires the Instructional Quality Commission to consider developing K-­‐12 computer science content standards. 
As a world leader driving the digital age, California expects an average of more than 20,000 computing job openings each year for the next five years; technology companies and businesses in virtually every sector are competing for computing talent, yet, our education system is not doing enough to prepare students for these careers. These bills will help provide the exposure and preparation students need to be successful in college and careers.

Computer science education is not just access to computers — it is about innovation and development of technology. Computer science builds students’ computational and critical thinking skills, showing them how to create, not simply use, new technologies. This fundamental knowledge is needed to prepare students for the 21st century, regardless of their ultimate field of study or occupation.

ACCESS has been working with, Technet, the Computer Science Teachers Association and others to ensure computer science opportunities are available to all students throughout California. ACCESS Chair and UC Irvine Professor Debra Richardson said, “Research has shown that making computer science count incentivizes students — especially those underrepresented in computing — to enroll in computer science courses in high school and be better prepared toward a path to college and careers using computer science.”

While these three bills represent a significant victory for computer science education, ACCESS is dedicated to the hard work that follows this legislation: establishing robust guidelines for computer science coursework; developing and promoting engaging curricula; preparing teachers to teach it, ensuring that we are recruiting and retaining underrepresented students in computer science and most importantly, that the state provides the necessary resources to our schools and students.

ACCESS is a statewide network of computer scientists, K-­‐12 teachers, professors from community colleges through universities, educational policy advocates, and related industry professionals dedicated to providing all California K-­‐12 students with high-­‐quality computer science education, ensuring that quality computer science education is available to all students, specifically for traditionally underrepresented students including girls, low-­‐income students and students of color.

ACCESS participates in a national collaboration, Expanding Computing Education Pathways, a National Science Foundation-­‐funded Broadening Participation Alliance, whose primary goal is to increase the number and diversity of students in the pipeline to computing and computing-­‐ intensive degrees. Contact: Julie Flapan, Executive Director, or 310.801.5403 www.

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