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A plan to add more meaning to CA computer science class

Vanessa Romo | April 16, 2014

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Sen. Alex Padilla, sponsor of  computer science bill

Sen. Alex Padilla, sponsor of computer science bill

Few students would likely take advanced computer science just for fun, even though the course is considered an elective in nearly all California high schools.

But a new bill, SB 1200, from State Senator Alex Padilla of Pacoima, would change that, developing guidelines for the course to count toward graduation by fulfilling a math requirement. And the UC and CSU systems would set academic standards for the computer course to apply toward undergraduate admissions.

The bill passed the Senate Education committee yesterday and is now headed to the Appropriations Committee.

“More high school students will take advanced computer science courses if the classes qualify for undergraduate admissions as a core subject like math,” said Padilla.

Only one high school in California offers advanced computer science courses that have been approved by the UC and CSU, and “not surprisingly,” said Padilla, the school is in San Jose, where most computing-related jobs are located.

He added, “Most college-bound students do not have the time to take an advanced computer science course that is not required for college admission.”

Fourteen states have implemented policies allowing computer science to count as core requirements toward high school graduation.  Where this happens, enrollment in computer science classes is 50 percent higher.

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