STATEMENT: Lt. Governor Newsom on budget funding for Computer Science initiatives

6-29-17

SACRAMENTO - Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement on funding in the 2017-18 State Budget for two critical Computer Science initiatives:

"California has tens of thousands of open computing jobs, where salaries are significantly higher than the state average but our education system is not aligned to meet this workforce need. Moreover, only a quarter of California's high schools offer computer science, a disparity punctuated by striking racial and gender gaps.

"This budget begins to address this economic and equity imperative and I applaud Governor Brown for his willingness to keep this important work on track. We are taking a major step forward toward our goal of 'Computer Science for All', ensuring that students of all backgrounds will be exposed to computer science education, and equipped with the skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow."

BACKGROUND

On September 27, 2016, Governor Brown signed AB 2329, authored by former Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) and co-sponsored by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and TechNet. The bill created an advisory panel charged with developing a computer science strategic implementation plan before July 15, 2019 at a cost of $224,000. AB 1539, signed by the Governor in 2014, required the Instructional Quality Commission and State Board of Education to develop computer science content standards by July 31, 2019 at a cost of $290,000. The 2017-18 State Budget funds these initiatives.

"Computer science is a fundamental skill in today's technology-driven economy," said Linda Moore, president and CEO of TechNet. "By bringing computer science courses to schools across the state, California is taking an enormous step toward ensuring its next generation of students are prepared to succeed in the modern workforce. TechNet applauds Governor Brown and state legislative leaders for being champions of computer science education and approving this critical legislation."

Lieutenant Governor Newsom has also championed efforts at the University of California and California State University systems. One of the barriers preventing more schools from offering computer science, and therefore more students from taking it, is the UC and CSU's failure to recognize computer science as a core mathematics or science course, but rather as an elective.

In December 2015, the Lieutenant Governor spearheaded a letter signed by dozens of key political, business and nonprofit leaders to the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), the UC committee armed with the ability to reclassify the course.

As a member of the Quantitative Reasoning Task Force subsequently established by the California State University Academic Senate, the Lieutenant Governor successfully lobbied for inclusion of computer science in the final report, moving the CSU one step closer to recognizing computer science as a viable option for a high school mathematics course. The report was endorsed by the Academic Senate and is currently being reviewed by the CSU Office of the Chancellor.

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