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2013 July 1

Computer Science Education Act

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 00:20
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Computing in the Core is asking people to support the Computer Science Education Act.

The Computer Science Education Act (CSEA) is a piece of legislation that has been introduced in the US House of Representatives that would make important changes to federal education laws to remove barriers to computer science in K-12 classrooms nationwide. Read a summary of the issues the bill addresses and what the bill does 

CSEA is a pretty simple, no-cost bill.  It does three things:

  • Amend the statutory definition of “core academic subjects” to add computer science.
  • Define “computer science”.
  • Add computer science to the academic subjects addressed by federal teacher professional development programs.

Susan Brooks (one of the authors of the bill) has a press release about CSEA.  I’d like to say that I’d read the bill and approve of what it says, but the Library of Congress says

The text of H.R.2536 has not yet been received from GPO.

They recommend checking back in a few days, after the Government Printing Office has had time to get off their lazy butts (though they word it more politely). So my endorsement of the bill is based just on the press release information.

I am a little concerned that the definition of “computer science” may be wildly off, leading to more harm than good, but I think that this is unlikely enough to have asked my Representative (Sam Farr) to co-sponsor the bill.

My bigger concern is that CSEA is a tiny, no-cost move that will have no noticeable effect on the number of computer science courses in elementary, middle, or high schools in the US.  It is a good first step, but it is nowhere near enough.

Both the sponsors of  CSEA (Susan Brooks and Jared Polis) serve on the Education and the Workforce Committee, to which this bill has been referred.  This makes it likely that CSEA will make it through the committee process unscathed and go on to the House floor.  Since the bill is starting out bipartisan, it is unlikely to fall victim to the Democrat vs. Republican fights over nothing in the Legislature, giving it a good chance to make it through the House.  (Whether the Senate will ever pick it up is another question.)

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