For Immediate Release
June 10, 2015
SEATTLE, Wash. – Today, Governor Jay Inslee signed Substitute House Bill 1813, expanding computer science classes across the state and providing new access to what has become a foundational skill in Washington’s economy.
“I applaud the Legislature for working in a bi-partisan fashion to help Washington state’s students compete for the computer science jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This law is a step forward to help close the computer science skills gap, which means more opportunities for our students and our state – a top priority of my Administration.”
Washington’s fastest growing and best paying jobs require computer science skills, yet only 7 percent of high schools offer computer science. According to data from the Census Bureau, in Washington the most common jobs are software developers. These jobs aren’t only in tech —two thirds of the nation’s computing jobs are in other industries, at places like Starbucks or WSDOT.
The new law, which was sponsored by the bipartisan leadership team of Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) and Rep. Chad Magendanz (R-Issaquah), helps ensure students have access to rigorous computer science classes.
"We have 20,000 open computing jobs in the state right now and yet our state produces only 1,200 computer science graduates each year. Who is going to fill those jobs?” said Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island. “We want every student in the state to have the opportunity to learn computer science so they will be ready for high-paying jobs in the state’s technology industry.”
“We all know education can change peoples’ lives – this is especially true for computer science, where so many opportunities exist,” said Magendanz, R-Issaquah. “This new law is part of a process of giving every student access to computer science classes so they have a shot at a good-paying job, and a great career, right here in Washington state.”
The law prioritizes investments to reach underrepresented students first. In Washington state just 1,048 students took the AP computer science test last year. Of those, only 260 were girls, 23 were African American, and 25 were Hispanic.
"As every industry is being turned upside down by technology, it's critical for every Washington student to have the chance to learn how to build technology, not just use it," said Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO of Code.org. "With this comprehensive legislation, I'm proud to see our state help students of all backgrounds pursue great futures, no matter what careers they go into.”
Substitute House Bill 1813 establishes K-12 education standards for computer science, creates a K-12 computer science teaching endorsement, and enables teachers to access state scholarships when pursuing computer science professional development.
"Through this legislation, teachers will receive the professional development they need to deliver high quality computer science education," said Washington STEM's CEO Patrick D'Amelio. "Thank you to Governor Inslee and the bipartisan leadership of Representatives Hansen and Magendanz for recognizing that a strong computer science education will give kids critical skills to enter today's job market."
Recent House and Senate budget operating proposals call for a $2 million commitment per biennium to support access to computer science. A 1:1 private match requirement will double the state’s investment. This strategic investment will enable every Washington high school to teach computer science by 2025.
Code.org is a 501c3 public non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Its vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer programming. After launching in 2013, Code.org organized the Hour of Code campaign – which has introduced over 100 million students to computer science to date – and partnered with 70 public school districts nationwide to expand computer science programs. Code.org is supported by philanthropic donations from corporations, foundations and generous individuals, including Microsoft, Infosys Foundation, USA, The Ballmer Family Giving, Omidyar Network and others. For more information, visit code.org
About Washington STEM
Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit advancing excellence, equity, and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Launched in March 2011 with support from the business, education, and philanthropic communities, our goal is to reimagine and revitalize STEM education across Washington. For more information, go to www.washingtonstem.org