Governors Launch Bipartisan Partnership to Expand Access to Computer Science Education
On February 21, 2016, Governors Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) announced a new partnership to promote K-12 computer science education at the state level at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting.
Currently, only 1 out of 4 schools offer computer science instruction — teaching students to create technology, not just use it. Demand for increased and earlier access to computer science is growing among educators, parents, and employers. In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said they want computer science taught in schools. Today, there are more than 600,000 open computing jobs across the U.S. in every industry and these are among the fastest growing, highest paying jobs in the US.
“There are few jobs today that don’t require some degree of technology or computer use, whether it’s auto mechanics, fashion design or engineering. A big part of our children’s success in the 21st century economy will be to ensure every student feels confident in front of a computer,” said Governor Inslee. “In Washington state we’ve had great bipartisan success promoting stronger computer science education, including teacher training and learning standards. I’m hopeful that governors around the country will join us in making computer science one of the basic skills every child learns.”
To address the education gap, governors joining the Partnership for K-12 Computer Science will work toward three key policy goals in their states:
Enable all high schools to offer at least one rigorous computer science course;
Fund professional learning opportunities so educators can be prepared to teach these courses; and
Create a set of high-quality academic K-12 computer science standards to guide local implementation of courses.
Governors Asa Hutchinson and Jay Inslee will serve as the bipartisan co-chairs for the initiative; they are calling on their colleagues to join them. Participating governors will also share best practices for expanding access to computer science, and advocate for federal policies to support computer science instruction.
“I’m delighted to join fellow governors to promote computer science education in schools across the country. I strongly believe this is paramount to the future of the American economy, and a critical step in preparing the next generation for the fastest growing field in the world,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “This time last year, our state passed the most comprehensive computer science education law in the country and appropriated significant funding to train teachers. And we’re not done yet. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in other states.”
The Partnership builds on increasing nationwide momentum for computer science education. In January, President Obama proposed $4.1 billion in his budget to support K-12 computer science. More than 20 states have proposed policies to expand access to computer science instruction, and districts are investing time and resources in preparing tens of thousands of educators to teach the subject. Last year, one of every three schools in the U.S. participated in the Hour of Code, a global campaign designed to address misperceptions about computer science.
“It’s amazing to see computer science sweeping across the nation's K-12 public schools, to provide a better future for our children,” said Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org. “Washington and Arkansas have led the way, but other states like Idaho, Utah, Massachusetts, Georgia and Alabama are also making this a priority. This new partnership will help expand that groundswell across the US.”
Code.org will provide the Partnership with resources related to best practices in policy and programs, and will facilitate collaboration among governors and their staff.
March 4, 2016
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