3 computer science policy goals for states

Governors band together to support state computer science education

The push for computer science education, including making it more accessible and making it eligible for high school science or math requirements instead of only counting as an elective, is growing.

At the National Governors Association Winter Meeting on Feb. 21, Governors Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) announced a new partnership intended to promote K-12 computer science education at the state level. The partnership focuses on specific policy goals to help states advocate for and advance computer science education.

Despite growing national awareness of and support for computer science skills, few school offer it as a course–just 1 in 4, according to

Demand for increased and earlier access to computer science is growing among educators, parents, and employers. In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said they want computer science taught in schools. At the beginning of February, President Obama proposed funneling $4 billion to an effort to reboot computer science education programs.

Groups across the country are getting behind the movement, too. Each year during Computer Science Education Week, schools are invited to participate in’s Hour of Code, in which they spend time coding and learning computer science skills. More recently, a partnership between nonprofit Destination Imagination and Oracle Academy encourages students to participate in computer science and coding challenges.

Next page: Three policy goals to advance computer science education

To address the education gap, governors joining the Partnership for K-12 Computer Science will work toward three key policy goals in their states:
• Enable all high schools to offer at least one rigorous computer science course
• Fund professional development opportunities so educators can be prepared to teach these
• Create high-quality K-12 computer science standards to guide local implementation of courses

Available computing jobs are growing across the U.S. in every industry, and these are among the highest paying jobs in the US.

“There are few jobs today that don’t require some degree of technology or computer use, whether it’s auto mechanics, fashion design or engineering. A big part of our children’s success in the 21st century economy will be to ensure every student feels confident in front of a computer,” said Gov. Inslee. “In Washington state we’ve had great bipartisan success promoting stronger computer science education, including teacher training and learning standards. I’m hopeful that governors around the country will join us in making computer science one of the basic skills every child learns.”

Govs. Asa Hutchinson and Jay Inslee will serve as the bipartisan co-chairs for the initiative; they are calling on their colleagues to join them.

Participating governors will also share best practices for expanding access to computer science, and advocate for federal policies to support computer science instruction.

“I’m delighted to join fellow governors to promote computer science education in schools across the country. I strongly believe this is paramount to the future of the American economy, and a critical step in preparing the next generation for the fastest growing field in the world,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “This time last year, our state passed the most comprehensive computer science education law in the country and appropriated significant funding to train teachers. And we’re not done yet. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in other states.” will provide the Partnership with resources related to best practices in policy and programs, and will facilitate collaboration among governors and their staff.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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