PITTSBURGH, PA –U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today visited the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy to promote the Computer Science Education Act, legislation he introduced to strengthen K-12 computer science education to prepare Americans for high-wage computing jobs.
“This legislation will give more students the opportunity to study computer science and position themselves for the jobs of the future," Senator Casey said. “This is a high-growth sector of very well-paying jobs. Research shows that through at least 2018, there will be far more jobs in computer science than there are people with computer science degrees. We need to equip our students now with the skills to pursue those opportunities.”
“The Computer Science Education Act encourages states to examine what is going on in local computer science classrooms and consider how to give students educational opportunities that support lucrative, rewarding careers and contribute to the most dynamic, innovative industry in the United States,” according to Maggie Johnson, Google’s Director of Education and University Relations. “Computer science must be accommodated in our nation’s classrooms if we want to be successful in the 21st Century.”
Senator Casey was joined by Pittsburgh Public Schools Chief of School Performance Dr. Jeannine French and Google Inc. Vice President of Engineering Andrew Moore.
Between 2004 and 2008, the number of computer-related bachelor's degrees granted in the U.S. fell from roughly 60,000 to 38,000. The availability of introductory secondary school computer science courses has also decreased—by 17 percent since 2005—and the number of Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses has decreased by 33 percent.
While some states allow computer science courses to count toward a secondary school core graduation requirements, most states that have specific course requirements for graduation count computer science courses only as electives. Many states also do not have a certification process for computer science teachers, and where certification processes do exist, such processes often have no connection to computer science content.
To reverse these troubling trends and prepare Americans for jobs in this high-wage, high-growth field, the Computer Science Education Act will:
- Ensure computer science offerings are an integral part of the curriculum;
- Develop state computer science standards, curriculum, and assessments;
- Improve access to underserved populations;
- Create professional development and teacher certification initiatives, including computer science teacher preparation programs in higher education;
- Form a commission on computer science education to bring states together to address the computer science teacher certification crisis; and,
- Establish an independent, rigorous evaluation of state efforts with reporting back to Congress and the administration.
The bill would provide two-year competitive planning grants to states, as well as five-year competitive implementation grants to states to support their plans to increase and strengthen schools’ capacity to offer effective computer science education.