Casey Kicks Off ‘Hour of Code’ at Easton Area High School, Pushes for Passage of Computer Science Jobs Act

Students Learn How to Code, Educators Discuss Need to Focus on Tech Skills / Casey Bill Would Put More Emphasis on Computer Science Education, Help Pennsylvanians Compete for Jobs of the Future

Casey Kicks Off ‘Hour of Code’ at Easton Area High School, Pushes for Passage of Computer Science Jobs Act

Easton PA- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) kicked off an ‘hour of code’ at Easton Area High School and pushed for passage of his bipartisan Computer Science Jobs and Education Act. Students learned how to code and Casey, joined by the school’s educators, discussed the need to put a greater emphasis on computer science education in schools so Pennsylvania students can compete for future jobs.

“Putting more emphasis on computer science in the classrooms will help students compete for the next generation of jobs.” Senator Casey said. “I’m hopeful that in the coming year Congress will move forward on this bipartisan legislation so that learning how to code isn’t a once a year event but a consistent part of what students do throughout the year.”

Computer Science Jobs and Education Act

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that in the year 2020, there will be 9.2 million jobs in the STEM fields.  Of those jobs, half will be in computing and information technology.  That’s 4.6 million jobs—lucrative, important and exciting jobs—waiting for those who choose to study computer science. Despite the economy’s reliance on computer science and the associated need to teach it, only 14 states count it toward a student’s high school graduation requirements. In 2012, just fewer than 3,000 of the country’s 40,000 high schools offered the AP Computer Science exam. Teacher certification processes for computer science teachers are broken or nonexistent, making it difficult to establish and nurture computer science preparation programs or attract computer science talent to a profession that seemingly doesn’t value computer science expertise.

Without creating any new programs or requiring any new spending, the Computer Science Education Act would clarify that existing and currently funded federal programs should support the teaching and learning of a discipline that offers limitless opportunities to those who study it and support local and state educators who want to put computer science curriculum and teachers in more of the country’s schools.

The legislation would:

  • Amend the definition of “core academic subjects” in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to add computer science, and define computer science.
  • Expand the Advanced Placement Incentive Program to include the Advanced Placement computer science class and test.
  • Amend state plan provisions so that states consider computer science when developing their Title I state improvement plans.
  • Clarify that computer science educators are covered by ESEA’s Math Science Partnerships.
  • Support stronger computer science teacher preparation programs.
  • Modify the Noyce Teacher Fellowship program to explicitly include computer science teachers.

The bill is endorsed by code.org and Computing in the Core, whose members include: Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, Association for Computing Machinery, College Board, Computer Science Teachers Association, Computing Research Association, Google, IEEE Computer Society, Microsoft, National Center for Women and Information Technology, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teachers Association, Oracle and SAS.

Casey first introduced the bill with Senator Rubio (R-FL) in July 2013. It currently has 5 additional cosponsors including Senators Booker, Feinstein, Murray, Schumer, and Warner.

More information on the ‘hour of code’ can be found here: http://hourofcode.com/us#

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