OLYMPIA — State Reps. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, and Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah have successfully passed HB 1813, a bipartisan proposal to expand computer science education so that students will be prepared for jobs in the high-technology industry, out of the House Education Committee.
“We have a social and economic imperative to ensure that all kids have the opportunity to learn computer science. Way too many young people—particularly our girls, our kids of color, our kids from low-income communities, and our kids from rural communities simply don’t have access to computer science courses at all,” said Jane Broom, Community Affairs Director at Microsoft.
HB 1813 creates the Computer Science and Education Grant program, which funds grants to help educators who want to pursue professional development in computer science, reach out to students to inspire their interest in computer science, and help school districts pay for technology to teach computer science courses.
“The most critical piece of this bill is the teacher retooling piece and the professional development to train existing teachers to teach computer science. Teachers who study to learn and teach computer science call it the best professional development they’ve received and the most impactful use of dollars to increase student access to the field,” said Hadi Partovi, Founder of Code.org.
The bill also adopts high-quality statewide computer science teaching standards and directs the creation of a computer science endorsement for educators interested in teaching computer science.
“We want to help today’s students train for tomorrow’s jobs. Employers like Avalara, Paladin, and the U.S. Navy will always need skilled computer science professionals. We want to get students excited about this field so they will have a strong foundation if they decide to pursue computer science careers,” said Rep. Hansen.
“The numbers tell the story – lots of available good-paying high-tech jobs, and not enough people to fill them,” said Magendanz, the ranking Republican on the House Education Committee. “If we give more children access to computer science learning now, they’ll have greater opportunities in the future. This is an important education reform that will help our students and our economy.”
Reps. Hansen and Magendanz have been working 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.
# # #