Written by Mark Dixon
President, A+ Education Partnership
What are the jobs of the future, and how do we prepare students for them?
Computing jobs are the largest source of new wages and make up half of new jobs in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field in the United States, according to Code.org, a national leader in Computer Science Education. The average annual salary for computing jobs is over $80,000, almost double the average salary in the state of Alabama.
This year in Alabama, there are approximately 5,000 open computing jobs in sectors like cyber security, data analysis, and manufacturing. That number will only grow over time as technology continues to change not only the economy but our everyday lives. Computing is a foundational skill for K-12 students. It develops students’ computational and critical thinking skills and teaches them how to create, not just use, new technologies. Making computer science curricula available to all students is critical to both their future success and the future success of our state’s economy.
Alabama has already taken steps to incorporate computer science into our schools. Last week, Governor Ivey’s Computer Science Task Force convened with the continued goal of placing greater emphasis on computer science education and building our workforce. We’ve been expanding access to Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses at the high school level and participated in the State Board of Education’s Computer Science Course of Study Committee that created the framework for computer science education in K-12 classrooms.
But we need to do more.
To build upon this progress, the Alabama Legislature is considering legislation that would expand computer science education to all children in Alabama schools (House Bill 216). This bill would:
- Expand computer science courses to all K-12 public schools in the state
- Provide funding for professional development for K-12 computer science teachers
- Provide a computer science specialist in the State Department of Education, and
- Provide multiple computer science certification pathways for both current teachers and computer science experts to become certified to teach in our schools.
This legislation will ensure Alabama’s public schools are providing the computer science education students need to enter a changing workforce and make Alabama a national leader in computer science education. Click here for information to contact your legislator and tell them to support HB 216 this legislative session.
To read the bill, click here.