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computersciencewashWashington high schools will now allow computer science classes to count as a math or science requirement toward high school graduation.

Today at Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School, Washington Governor Jay Insee will sign bill HB 1472, which “provides initiatives to improve and expand access to computer science education.”

He will be joined by Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith, Rep. Drew Hansen, co-founder Hadi Partovi and teachers and students from Rainier Beach’s computer science classes.

“I applaud the Legislature and Governor Inslee for ensuring our students will be able to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Smith, also a founding board member of Washington STEM, in a statement. “This is a step forward to help close the skills gap in Washington, and a move that will make our state a national STEM leader. Every young person in our state should have the chance to learn computer science; it’s the new language of opportunity.”

In overwhelming fashion, Washington State Legislature voted 95-0 to pass the bill last month. A Washington STEM survey found that 3 in 4 voters feel that CSE classes should count for math or science credit instead of just an elective. There are currently nine other states that allow for this, and now Washington becomes the tenth.

Speaking of Inslee, GeekWire’s John Cook wrote an interesting piece encouraging the governor to do something similar to what Texas Governor Rick Perry did, taking a road trip around the country to tell Washington’s story and tout the region as place that’s open for innovative businesses — and also a cool place to live.

Previously on GeekWire: Here’s why this do-it-all science instructor is the 2013 National Teacher of the Year

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