Assembly Passes Bill to Expand Computer Science Education

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The California State Assembly passed legislation authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, that would include computer science education into the curriculum for every California student in grades 1-6.

Assembly Bill (AB) 2110 passed with a 75-0 vote.  It now moves to the State Senate for further review.

“We want every kid to learn a foreign language,” said Ting.  “Every kid should learn a computer language too.  Technology is a defining component of California’s economy but its future success is impeded by a contradiction.  Most learn technology by using it.  Very few are taught in school.  By mainstreaming computer science into our curriculum, more Californians can be part of our booming tech economy.”

AB 2110 directs the State Board of Education to consider incorporating computer science into existing curriculum content frameworks for grades 1-6 when they revisit these frameworks next year.  The bill notes that computer science education includes integrating basic technology skills with computational thinking, age-appropriate computer practices and use of communication devices, using appropriate technology resources for communication and collaborative problem solving, and the ethical impacts of technology.

Among other technology companies, Salesforce.com and Microsoft wrote letters in support of Ting’s bill.

“We continue to grow in California and want to ensure that we can continue to recruit here as well,” wrote Salesforce.com.  “Unfortunately, our schools are not currently producing the workforce we need with 21st Century skills.  AB 2110 takes the necessary steps to incorporate computer science in the school system….”

“Addressing the gap between skilled computer science graduates and growing computer science job opportunities begins with our education system and legislative action,” wrote Microsoft. “For this reason, we believe AB 2110 is an important tool in preparing students for careers in the knowledge-based economy.”

Most students are exposed to computer science through advance placement (AP) courses in high school but few enroll because these classes are not widely available.  Only 211 high schools offer AP computer science.  Nearly 5,000 students took the AP computer science exam last year – about one-third of a percent of all California students in grades 10-12.

A report by the Bay Area Council found that tech jobs grew 27 times faster than all other occupations between 2002-2011, high-tech workers make 27% more than other workers, and employment in tech is expected to grow more than other economic sectors through 2020.

Further information about this legislation is available at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Contact: Anthony Matthews (Ting), tel. (916) 319-2019, anthony.matthews@asm.ca.gov