Sen. Casey Calls For HS Computer Courses Directive

Wednesday, 02 Nov 2011 06:23 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey says the nation’s students aren’t prepared for the more than 140,000 computer science jobs that become available every year, so he is pushing for a bill requiring U.S. schools to make computer courses part of their core curricula.
“We’re not getting enough young people involved in this course of study,” Casey said Tuesday during a rollout of the Computer Science Education Act. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Casey spoke at the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, a public magnet school.
Casey, who introduced the bill, said the Senate will probably debate the issue in upcoming weeks, with lawmakers working on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The computer bill offers grants to states and schools to help them expand their high school computer science offerings. Casey said fewer than 40,000 people graduate each year with degrees in computer science, leaving the many jobs available in the field going unfilled.
The senator said part of the problem is the nation’s high schools aren’t preparing graduates to become computer science majors. Many states don’t require certification for high school computer science teachers and the courses are treated as electives, rather than a requirement.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Andrew Moore, who is Google Inc.’s vice president of engineering, appeared at the school with Casey. Moore said the gap between qualified people and job openings “keeps me up at night.”

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