Berman Bill to Increase the Number of Computer Science Teachers Passes First Hurdle

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) released the following statement in response to AB 1853 passing out of the Assembly Education Committee today. The legislation would establish the Computer Science Preservice Teacher Grant Program for California teacher preparation programs to develop or expand computer science education training for individuals seeking a teaching credential.

“Every student in California deserves access to high quality computer science education, but the majority of high schools in our state do not offer it,” said Assemblymember Berman. “Computer science is transforming industry, bolstering productivity in established economic sectors, and driving job creation and innovation throughout California’s economy. AB 1853 seeks to take an important step in ensuring all students have access to computer science education by increasing the number of teachers qualified to teach computer science in K-12 schools.”

Only 41% of California public high schools offer at least one computer science course with schools reporting a lack of trained teachers and funds as key barriers to offering computer science. California ranks 42nd nationally in high schools offering computer science courses. AB 1853 would create the Computer Science Preservice Teacher Grant, an incentive grant program, for institutions of higher education to develop or expand K–12 computer science and computational thinking coursework in teacher preparation programs. Preparing future or preservice teachers to teach and integrate computer science is a critical step in California’s efforts to expand computer science education to all students.

Nationwide computing occupations make up 58% of all projected new jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, making computer science one of the most in-demand college majors. The United States of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that computer and information technology occupations will grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. California currently has approximately 68,000 open computing jobs with an average salary of $115,754.

Supporters of AB 1853 include Code.org (sponsor), Amazon, College Board, Council for Strong America, CSforCA, Elementary Computing for All, Fight Crime Invest in Kids, Project Lead the Way, Microsoft, Mission Readiness, Ready Nation, Snap, TechNet, and Valley Industry Commerce Association.

“Expanding access to computer science education for K-12 students starts with a strong pipeline of teachers,” said Robyn Hines, Senior Director State Government Affairs. “Microsoft is proud to support AB 1853 to create a Computer Science Preservice Teacher Grant Program for institutions of higher education because we believe in investing in the unlimited potential of California’s teachers and students.”

“Tackling educational inequity is the first step in diversifying the tech industry at scale," said Oona King, Snap VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. "This also reflects the view of over 25 tech industry and academic experts that Snap convened to publish the Action to Catalyze Tech Report. We're proud to support AB 1853 as a meaningful investment in teachers to expand access to computer science education and equip students with the technical skills to succeed.”

“Growing the K-12 computer science pre-service pipeline is a foundational strategy for bringing computer science to our schools. Pre-service teachers are the next generation of education leaders and are positioned to teach foundational computer science skills for a workforce that now demands these skills. We strongly support Assemblymember Berman’s legislation.” said Cameron Wilson, President of Code.org a national nonprofit focused on ensuring every student has access to computer science education.

Contact: BermanPress@asm.ca.gov, 916-319-2024