Assembly Bill 2329, Computer Science Plan by Assemblywoman Bonilla was signed by Governor Brown September 27th, 2016. This bill was actively supported by CUE as well as most of the education associations potentially part of the Coalition mentioned in this article. The bill requires State Superintendent Torlakson to convene an advisory panel to prepare recommendations for a K-12 Computer Science Strategic Implementation (CCSSI) Plan to be adopted by the State Board of Education and implemented by the California Department of Education on or before July 1, 2018.
The CCSSI Plan would provide recommendations to address:
- Provision of professional development for education in computer science
- Teacher certification pathways in computer science
- Defining computer science education principles to meet needs of K-12 students
- Ensure all pupils have access to computer science from K-post secondary education
- Ensure school districts have adequate broadband connectivity and infrastructure
- Ensure school districts have hardware and software
- Increase participation of underserved pupils in computer science education
The 23-member panel is to include: Six K-12 teachers, representatives of the State Superintendent, Governor, Senate, and Assembly, the CTC, private sector technology industry, UC, CSU, Community Colleges, private colleges, county offices of education, the Instructional Quality Commission, STEM education representatives, school administrators, a public school pupil, a parent organization, and the National Computer Science Teachers Association. Click here to see the text and legislative history for AB 2329.
Funding for Computer Science: The bill states that if State or Federal funding is not available, the Panel will investigate the process and ability to accept grants and accept public and private donations to fund the convening the
Panel and preparing the Plan. The bill supports President Obama’s Computer Science for All initiative, which provides Federal funding for the next three years for states to increase access to computer science education in elementary and secondary education classrooms. Under the program, states would submit comprehensive five-year “Computer Science for All” plans in order to be eligible for federal funding. In addition to state-level grants, the Federal budget allocates competitive grant funding for districts to execute computer science education expansion efforts to serve as models for national replication.
Computer Science Standards Defined: The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) is a professional association that supports and encourages education in the field of computer science and related areas. CSTA has developed Computer Science Standards which provide the foundation for a complete computer science curriculum and its implementation at the K–12 level which are found at: http://csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/K12Standards.html The CSTA Standards are intended to:
- Introduce the fundamental concepts of computer science to all students, beginning at the elementary school level.
- Present computer science at the secondary school level in a way that can fulfill a computer science, math, or science graduation credit.
- Encourage schools to offer additional secondary-level computer science courses that will allow interested students to study facets of computer science in more depth and prepare them for entry into the work force or college.
- Increase the availability of rigorous computer science for all students, especially those who are members of underrepresented groups.
The Panel will be able to refer to the CSTA Computer Science Standards because CSTA will have a representative on the Panel. Given the work already done in this area by CSTA and others, it seems that the panel would not have difficulty completing its work well before the July 1, 2018 deadline as stated in SB 2329. CUE actively supported AB 2329 and submitted support letters urging the Governor to sign it. It is suggested that the next steps would be to work with the CDE and Assemblywoman Bonilla to enable CUE to have a representative on the advisory panel as described in the bill.
If you are an active CUE member and would like to participate in CUE’s efforts to support implementation of this bill, please contact John at the email below.
John Cradler is a legislative policy consultant with CUE and works with the CUE board, staff, and Legislative Advocacy Committee to advise on policy, legislation, and other public initiatives to support CUE’s mission and vision. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com