Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exciting Week for Computer Science Education in Sacramento Last Week

It was an exciting week in Sacramento for computer science education last week.  A handful of CS-related bills were heard by the Assembly Education Committee along with one by the Senate Education Committee.  ACCESS was on hand to help provide analysis and information.  Many thanks to Josh Paley, a computer science teacher at Gunn High School in Palo Alto and a CSTA advocacy and leadership team member, who provided substantive testimony on two priority bills*, along with Code.Org, Technet and Microsoft.  Josh provided compelling stories of students who had graduated and gone on to solve important problems using their CS skills.  All of the following CS-related bills passed out of committee, all but one with unanimous approval:

1) AB 1764* (Olsen and Buchanan) 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 as a “category c” (math) requirement for admissions.  Such credit would only be offered in districts where the school district requires more than two courses in mathematics for graduation, therefore, it does not replace core math requirements.

2) AB 1539* (Hagman) would create computer science standards that provide guidance for teaching computer science in grades 7-12.

3) AB 1540 (Hagman) establishes greater access to concurrent enrollment  in community college computer science courses by high school students.

4) AB 1940 (Holden) establishes a pilot grant program to support establishing or expanding AP curriculum in STEM  (including computer science) in high schools with such need (passed with two noes).

5) AB 2110 (Ting) requires computer science curriculum content to be incorporated into curriculum frameworks when next revised.

6) SB1200 (Padilla) would require CSU and request UC to establish a uniform set of academic standards for high school computer science courses, to satisfy the “a-g” subject requirements, as defined, for the area of mathematics ("c") for purposes of recognition for undergraduate admission at their respective institutions.

7) ACR 108 (Wagner) would designate the week of December 8, 2014, as Computer Science Education Week (passed on consent).

AB 1530 (Chau), to be heard at a future Assembly Education Committee meeting, would encourage the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop or, as needed, revise a model curriculum on computer science, and to submit the model curriculum to the State Board of Education for adoption (specifically focuses on grades 1-6).

Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.  We'll keep you updated as these bills move forward through additional committees and the full legislature.
Finally, if you'd like to be a part our our Policy Subcommittee to discuss the benefits and unintended consequences of various legislative proposals, we welcome your input.

Thanks so much,
Julie and Debra
Debra Richardson
Professor of Informatics

Founding Dean, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences Chair, Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS) PI, Expanding Computing Education Pathways - California (ECEP-CA) University of California, Irvine Irvine, CA 92697-3440

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