Senator Alex PadillaSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — A bill to allow high school advanced computer science courses to be counted towards core college admissions requirements was approved today by the Senate Education Committee. The bill, SB 1200, by State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) calls on the UC and CSU to provide guidelines for high school computer science courses that would satisfy a math subject matter requirement for undergraduate admissions. The bill will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

California is driving the digital age and is the world leader in computing, information technology, the new “ap” economy and advanced technology. By the year 2018, California will need to fill half a million computing-related jobs. Unfortunately, most Californians are unlikely to possess the skills necessary to work in this field. This is largely due to education policies that do not recognize or value the role of computing and computer science in our lives and our future.

“Only one high school in California offers advanced computer science courses that have been approved by the UC and CSU to meet core college admission requirements. Not surprisingly, the school is in San Jose. At all other high schools, computer science courses are considered electives. Most college-bound students do not have the time to take an advanced computer science course that is not required for college admission,” Senator Padilla said.

“More high school students will take advanced computer science courses if the classes qualify for undergraduate admissions as a core subject like math. These courses should be recognized as fundamental knowledge that is necessary in the 21st century economy,” added Senator Padilla.

Fourteen states have implemented policies allowing computer science to count as core requirements toward high school graduation. In these states computer science course enrollment is 50 percent higher.

Computer science and the technologies it enables now lie at the heart of our economy, our daily lives, and scientific enterprise. Computer science jobs are one of the fastest growing sectors of the California and national economy. Of the 1.1 million STEM jobs that will need to be filled in California by 2018, computing-related jobs account for nearly half.

Senator Alex Padilla, 40, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and is President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District in Los Angeles.