Lawmakers Push for Computer Science Curriculum in California Schools

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

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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