Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced the introduction of the bipartisan Computer Science Education and Jobs Act, which will address the urgent need for more computer science education in schools. The legislation will strengthen computer science education by changing federal education policies to support providing access to computer science in the country’s elementary, middle and high schools.
“I am proud to introduce the Computer Science Education and Jobs Act in the Senate to help our schools improve computer science instruction,” Senator Casey said. “In both the near- and long-term, job opportunities in mathematics and computer science will grow faster than in any other technology sector category. This legislation will give more students the opportunity to position themselves for high-skilled, good paying jobs in the future through the study of computer science.”
“Our students must be equipped with skills that lead to employment in today’s global economic marketplace, as well as a strong foundation should they choose to continue their education in a postsecondary setting,” said Senator Rubio. “An increasing number of jobs require or will require a foundational knowledge of computer science and related fields, and the Computer Science Education and Jobs Act ensures greater access to this kind of learning. This bill can help advance today’s K-12 education into the 21st century and provide our students with the skills they need to succeed.”
Computer science is the primary driver for job growth throughout the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the year 2020, there will be 9.2 million jobs in the STEM fields. Half of those jobs—4.6 million—will be in computing or information technology. Even today, the computing industry is searching for talent to fill thousands of jobs. Currently, not enough students have access to computer science classes, nor are they being encouraged to take these courses. Computer science educators don’t have access to the same professional support as their colleagues who teach other disciplines.
This legislation will clarify federal polices to make sure computer science programs in states are eligible for federal funding. It will also make these courses available to more students and support the computer science educators who teach them. This legislative proposal does not create any new programs; it simply revises certain definitions and programs to clearly offer computer science as an option to state and local educators deciding how to prepare the country’s young people for the future.
“Computer science is a subject that brings those who study it limitless opportunities,” said Tammy Pirrman, K-12 Coordinator Computer Science and Business for Springfield Township School District. “Changes in federal education policy can help us get more of it into classrooms across Pennsylvania and the country. That will be good for the entire Nation.”
"I want to thank Senators Rubio and Casey for leading the charge on Capitol Hill for more computer science education in schools, with the introduction of the Computer Science Education And Jobs Act of 2015,” said Robert W. Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools. “In Broward County Public Schools, we are in the midst of dramatically expanding our computer science offerings by adding new curriculum throughout K-12. Today's students are surrounded by technology, and we must prepare them to tap into incredible career opportunities. The proposed legislation will help expand computer science not only in Broward County, but across our great nation.”
The legislation is currently supported by Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, the Computing Research Association, the National Center for Women & Information Technology, the National Center of Technological Literacy, and the National Science Teachers Association.