Joe Sanbria (seated) gets help from his classmates with the programming language Python at Foshay Technology Academy in Los Angeles. (Lillian Mongeau,/EdSource Today)
Joe Sanbria (seated) gets help from his classmates with the programming language Python at Foshay Technology Academy in Los Angeles. (Lillian Mongeau,/EdSource Today)

The California Legislature is showing a rather sudden determination to make the state’s students computer literate. And by computer literate, we don’t mean being conversant with CTRL-ALT-Delete as the cure for all your Windows operating system hangups. Lillian Mongeau of education policy news service EdSource reports that there are no fewer than six bills in the Legislature right now that would require the state to make computer science — programming, in a word — part of the school curriculum:

Educators and tech industry leaders would like high schools to teach students more than just how to use a computer – the goal now is for students to be able to program one. Computer science shouldn’t be a niche field for the highly educated any longer, advocates say.

“I’m not saying every child should become a programmer, but I do think it’s important for every child to have some basic level of skill in computer science,” said Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto.

If all six bills become law, the California State Board of Education would be tasked with developing computer science standards for grades 1 to 12 and the state higher education systems would be asked to create guidelines for courses they’d be willing to accept for admission credit.

Here’s more on that story, including a list of the six pending bills: Lawmakers Call for More Computer Science in California Schools

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

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