(Feb. 27) – The House Education Committee approved a bill by Speaker Crisanta Duran and Senate President Kevin Grantham that will enhance the quality and availability of computer science education in our state. The bill responds to demands for technology and computer science skills by requiring Colorado’s State Board of Education to add technology skills into current content standards and creating a publicly available resource bank for schools and districts that want to start or expand computer science programs.

“We have a lot more to do to make sure that Colorado boys and girls have the opportunity to reach their full potential and are qualified for these computer science and technology jobs,” said Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver. “Colorado has over 13,517 computing job openings, but there were only 668 computer science graduates in the entire state in 2014.”

Information technology is one of Colorado’s fastest growing career sectors, but many students lack exposure to technology and computer science training. Only 53 schools in Colorado (14% of Colorado schools with Advanced Placement programs) offered an AP Computer Science course in 2015-2016. This access gap ultimately results in ethnic and gender underrepresentation in STEM training and careers. Out of 780 Colorado high school students who took AP Computer Science in 2016, only 19 percent were female, only 92 of the students were Hispanic or Latino, and only 14 students were Black.

Under HB17-1184, industry experts would also be allowed to co-teach computer science in the classroom.

Organizations in support of the bill include: Apple, AT&T, Colorado Code.org, Colorado Business Roundtable, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado League of Charter Schools, Colorado Succeeds, Colorado Technology Association, Couragion, Democrats for Education Reform, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Education Reform Now, Galvanize, IBM, Jaybird Group, Mile High United Way, Stand for Children Colorado, and The Women’s Foundation of Colorado.

The 11-2 vote sends the bill to the House Appropriations Committee.

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