Assembly Bill 1764, a bill that would encourage school districts to expand computer science courses in high schools, received unanimous bipartisan support on the Assembly floor yesterday.
Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) along with Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) report that by the end of the decade over half of all jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in the U.S. will require highly technical computer knowledge and experience. Yet California schools are falling behind other states in both their use of technology in the classroom and the courses offered.
According to the Conference Board and the National Science Foundation, as of December 2013 there are 77,309 open computing jobs in California but only 4,324 computer science graduates. In states where computer science counts as a high school academic class, 50 percent more students enroll than in states where it is treated as an elective.
AB 1764 would allow school districts to award students credit for one mathematics course if they successfully complete a course in computer science approved by the University of California and/or the California State University as fulfilling a “C” requirement. Such credit would only be offered in districts where the school district requires more than two courses in mathematics for graduation.
““Only one Californian is qualified for every 20 open jobs in computer science because our universities are graduating only a fraction of the number of people needed to meet the workforce demands in technology,” Olsen said. “Research has shown that greater access to advanced computer science courses in high school leads to more students pursuing related careers and majors in college.”
AB 1764 will be heard in the Senate Education Committee in the coming weeks.