Senator Alex Padilla
SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — SB 1200 by Calif. State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) won final legislative approval after a unanimous bipartisan vote of the State Senate today. The bill calls on the UC and CSU to provide guidelines for high school computer science courses that would satisfy an advanced math subject matter requirement for purposes of undergraduate admissions. Currently schools must submit a proposed course curriculum to the UC and CSU for consideration.

SB 1200 would request that the UC and require CSU to develop the guidelines for advanced computer science courses. Clear guidelines will help high schools establish advanced computer science courses in a manner that is consistent with admissions standards.

California is the world leader in computing, information technology, advanced technology and the new “app” economy. By the year 2018, California will need to fill hundreds of thousands of 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 coding and computer science in our lives and our future.

“It’s hard to believe that only one high school in California offers a computer science course that has been approved by the UC and CSU to satisfy a math requirement for undergraduate admissions. At all other high schools, computer science courses are, at best, treated as electives,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “We can’t expect California to remain the world’s leader in computer technology if we don’t value computer science in public education,” Padilla added.

“Currently education policy discourages students from taking advanced computer science courses. SB 1200 would ensure that advanced computer science courses are counted as meeting an A – G math requirement for admission to UC and CSU,” said Padilla. “More high school students will take advanced computer science courses if they know that the classes help meet requirements for undergraduate admission,” added Senator Padilla. “That’s good for California,” Padilla said.

There are 1,304 high schools in California educating approximately 1.8 million students each year, only one California high school currently offers computer science courses that have been approved as meeting a math requirement for admission to the UC and CSU.

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 when compared to states that do not count computer science as a core requirement for high school graduation.

Computer science, and the technologies it enables, have transformed our economy and accelerated technological innovation. Computer science jobs are one of the fastest growing sectors of the California economy.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that computer science-related jobs will be among the fastest growing and highest paying over the next decade. Computer scientists enjoy a wide range of career options because nearly all economic sectors involve computing. Of the 1.1 million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs that will need to be filled in California by 2018, computing-related jobs account for nearly half.

The UC and CSU have established minimum common high school core course requirements called “A -G” which consists of history/social studies, English, mathematics, laboratory science, language other than English, visual and performing arts and college-prep elective.

Senator Alex Padilla, 41, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and just completed serving on the MIT Corporation Board. He 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.

EDITORIAL NOTE: content based on press release as provided by the office of Mr. Padilla.