Sacramento-Today, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and assembly member mark berman (D-Menlo Park) unveiled legislation to expand access to computer science education in California, which will require all public high schools in California to offer at least one computer science education course. The bill, Assembly Bill 2097, also establishes computer science as a high school graduation requirement by the 2030–31 school year.
“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill to make computer science a high school graduation requirement in the state of California. It is essential that we equip our youth with the essential skills they need to thrive in careers today and in the future. Our state has long been home to some of the greatest technology founders and innovators, and all of our students should be empowered to contribute to and benefit from that success. Computer science is foundational and essential for all of our students to become productive, responsible digital citizens in a global society,” said Superintendent Thurmond.
Despite being an undisputed cradle of innovation, California has long failed to provide access to computer science courses to students of all backgrounds, leaving it far behind 40 states and leaving a growing equity gap.
As of January 2023, there are 45,245 open computing jobs in California with an average salary of $153,544, yet there were only 9,339 graduates in computer science in 2020. California has the highest number of open computing jobs in the country.
“It is critical to equip our students with the skills they need to enter the twenty-first century workforce and succeed in our digitally driven world,” said Assemblymember Berman. “Computer science skills are required in many career fields, from science and technology to agriculture, entertainment, fashion, banking, marketing and beyond. We owe it to our students to teach them the basic skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy – and that starts with access to computer science education.
“Even in Silicon Valley, many students who grew up in the shadow of global tech companies are not able to acquire the skills they need to one day work at those companies. AB 2097 will not only help provide the workforce California needs to remain competitive with other states and other countries, but it is also critical in closing the existing gender and diversity gap. If we truly value equity in our schools, we need to ensure that all students have access to computer science education,” said Assembly Member Barman.
Modesto AP computer science teacher Amy Pezzoni said many students have no idea what they can do with computer science skills until they take her class and realize how many doors begin to open. “As a teacher, I love creating opportunities for my students to learn skills that will truly serve them throughout their lives,” Pezzoni said. “We need to demystify computer science and embrace the fact that having skills in this field will help our students land almost any job they want. “So we need to make sure every student has access to these classes, no matter where they are from.”
Fast Facts on Computer Science:
- Twenty-seven other states currently require high schools to offer computer science courses, with five of those states requiring computer science courses for graduation.
- Twice as many Americans as ever use computer skills in their jobs, and half of those are in non-STEM fields like agriculture, fashion and banking.
- As of January 2023, there are 45,245 open computing jobs in California with an average salary of $153,544, yet there were only 9,339 computer science graduates in 2020.
- Fifty-five percent of high schools in California do not offer a single course in computer science.
- Only 5 percent of the 1,930,000 high school students in California are enrolled in computer science courses.
- Only 34 percent of schools serving high proportions of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Pacific Islander students offer computer science courses, while 52 percent of schools serving high proportions of White and Asian students offer computer science courses. Are.
- While female students make up 49 percent of the high school population, only 30 percent of students taking computer science courses are female.
- Schools serving low-income communities are three times less likely to offer core computer science courses than schools serving higher-income communities, and two times less likely to offer Advanced Placement courses.
- Rural schools are twice as likely to offer computer science courses as urban schools.
- California lags the national average and 40 other states in the percentage of high schools offering at least one computer science course.