SACRAMENTO - Today Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) introduced AB 1054 which will ensure that all public high school students in California have access to computer science education. AB 1054 will align California with 27 other states that already require that public high schools offer computer science education.
"From Silicon Valley to Biotech Beach, California is the undisputed cradle of innovation. People move here from all across the globe with bold ideas and big dreams of changing the world," said Assemblymember Berman. "But the reality is that far too many California students grow up in the shadows of these tech companies, yet go to schools that don't even offer them the opportunity to learn the skills they need to one day work there."
"California has fallen behind 27 other states when it comes to prioritizing access to computer science education, exacerbating educational inequities and the diversity gaps in tech. This is indefensible. Not only will ensuring that every California high school student has access to computer science courses help close the gender and diversity gap in tech fields, it will also help train the future workforce needed for California to remain competitive both with other states and other nations. AB 1054 will begin to restore California as a leader, and will equip our students with the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow's digitally driven world,” said Assemblymember Berman.
Here's what leading computer science education advocates have to say:
“Ensuring all high schools offer at least one course in foundational computer science means that all students - regardless of their background, identity, or location - will have access to such important courses. It is for this reason that more than half of the states in the country have passed such a policy," Codeye J. Woody, Director of State Government Affairs for Code.org.
"Every student deserves to be equipped with the knowledge, tools, and resources to successfully participate and thrive in modern society. As technology continues to expand, today’s students need access to culturally relevant and engaging high quality computer science education. Unfortunately, too many students, particularly Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income students, don’t have access to these foundational learning opportunities. CSforCA firmly believes that by offering computer science courses at all California's high schools, we will get closer to achieving educational equity across the state and build a better future for everyone," said Julie Flapan, CSforCA Co-Director.
“California is a leader in innovation but lags behind in ensuring equity and access to computer science education. Requiring all high schools to offer at least one computer science course is a critical next step in preparing the next generation of Californians for rewarding career pathways and informed community engagement,” said Lia Nitake, Deputy Executive Director for TechNet.
“Computer science and computational thinking allow students to develop multiple skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving that can engage and drive our young adults to be the next generation of innovators. California needs to re-double its efforts to ensure all students have access to high-quality teaching and learning across all STEM subjects, including computer science. We look forward to working with Assembly member Berman to secure the additional commitments and support from the state to do just that,” said Adonai Mack, Senior Director of Education for Children Now.
“SVLG remains committed to fostering the next generation of STEM talent to sustain our innovation economy and create shared economic value for all. We support efforts designed to help ensure that all high school students, regardless of socioeconomic background, have access to essential computer science education. And believe that by doing so through a lens of equity, new doors of opportunity can be opened, and we can help change the face of Silicon Valley,” said Ahmad Thomas, CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
It is critically important to ensure all students in California have equitable access to computer science education. 75.1% of high school students in California attend a school that offers computer science, but despite years of work, significant disparities in access persist. Generally, students from racial and ethnic groups that have been historically excluded from computer science continue to be less likely to attend a school that offers it. Rural schools, urban schools, and schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students continue to be less likely to offer computer science. Black students, Latinx students, and Native American/Alaskan students are less likely to attend a school that offers computer science. Computer science engages students in school, supports learning in other subject areas, and provides pathways for future opportunities for students.