OLYMPIA – Today a bill to expand computer science education in Washington passed out of the House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority vote. The bipartisan measure sponsored by Reps. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, and Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, will help prepare students for jobs in the high-tech industry.
“We have 20,000 open computing jobs in the state right now and yet our state produces only 1,200 computer science graduates each year. Who is going to fill those jobs?” said Hansen during his floor speech. “We want every student in the state to have the opportunity to learn computer science so they will be ready for high-paying jobs in the state’s technology industry.”
“Seventy percent of job growth is in computer science, yet only ten percent of our high schools offer computer science classes,” noted Magendanz. “We talk a lot about the skills gap, but this is the most significant thing we can do to increase the opportunity for our children, our next generation, our future workforce, to take advantage of these high-wage, most promising jobs.”
A product of nearly two years of bipartisan work, HB 1813 adopts high-quality statewide computer science teaching standards, expands scholarship eligibility for educators interested in pursuing professional development in computer science, and directs the creation of a computer science endorsement for educators interested in teaching computer science.
The representatives are separately pursuing $2 million in funding for professional development in computer science for educators, technology purchases for schools, and outreach to young people historically underrepresented in computer science careers.
Hansen and Magendanz have worked for several years on bipartisan solutions to the state’s computer science professional shortage, beginning with the successful passage in 2013 of HB 1472, expanding AP computer science in Washington high schools.