A Washington state bill bolstering computer science education standards is waiting for Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature. The bill will make grants available for training teachers and establish standards in the growing field of computer science.
House Bill 1813 passed the state House and Senate on Thursday, requiring the adoption of “computer science learning standards developed by a nationally recognized computer science education organization” across the state.
The bill creates three grants, as well. One grant will go training teachers, while another will go to education facilities that have supported historically underrepresented students with computer science. The last grant will be used for upgrading technology in schools. The bill calls for $2 million investment every two years, with a 1:1 match from private entities.
The development of teaching standards is also required by the bill, to be available for endorsing eligible teachers by early 2016.
The bill was backed by Code.org’s CEO Hadi Partovi earlier this year. In a letter sent to legislators in March, executives from Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and others called for more education to fill jobs in the computer science industry.
“There are currently 20,000 open computing jobs across all industries in Washington, and these jobs are growing at three times the state average,” the letter reads.
Another bill that categorizes computer science as a foreign language is still working its way through the legislature, but Partovi and others don’t think it’s necessary since computer science credits already go toward math or science requirements.
HB 1813 attempts to get more female, African American and Hispanic students to take the Advanced Placement test that fills those requirements. Only a quarter of female students took it in 2014, and a very low percentage of African American and Hispanic students.