Pushback in California on Computing in Schools
I’ve been thrilled to see the legislative progress in California around CS education issues. The governor has now signed Senate Bill 1200 which starts the process of CS counting for UC/CSU admissions. Dan Lewis’s article in The Mercury News tempered that enthusiasm (linked below). I wasn’t aware that UC was pushing back, nor how the number of CS classes and teachers is dropping in California. Lots more work to do there.
The Legislature just passed two bills to address these issues. Senate Bill 1200 allows but does not require the University of California to count computer science toward the math requirements for admission. However, there’s been a lot of push back from UC on this, so for now, all we really have is an expression of intent from the Legislature. Thankfully, AB 1764 allows high schools to count computer science toward graduation requirements. Of course, that may not mean much for students applying to UC.
For these reasons, computer science isn’t a priority for students. Nor is it a priority for schools when determining course offerings based on limited budgets: While California high school enrollment has risen 15 percent since 2000, the number of classes on computer science or programming fell 34 percent, and the number of teachers assigned to those courses fell 51 percent.
A new policy brief was just released from the California STEM Learning Network on the state of CS education in California (see here). California actually lags behind the rest of the US on some important indicators like number of CS degrees conferred. That’s pretty scary for Silicon Valley.