Governor Inslee signs computer science education bill into law

Today a bill to expand computer science education in Washington was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee. 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.

The measure was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

 Washington State Legislative Sup
Washington State Legislative Sup Copyright © Washington State Legislative Support Services Gov. Jay Inslee signs Substitute House Bill No. 1813, June 10, 2015. Relating to expanding computer science education.

“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.  “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.

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.