SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that the State Board of Education has taken action to improve and update computer science education in California.
The board appointed 21 members to the Computer Science Standards Advisory Committee and approved guidelines for the development of new standards.
“These actions will modernize and upgrade computer science education in California,” Torlakson said. “Enhancing and expanding the teaching and learning of computer science will help California’s students succeed in a fiercely competitive environment while maintaining our state’s position as the global high-tech leader.”
The guidelines were recommended by the Instructional Quality Commission and are based on focus group meetings, public comment and updates for current state law. The committee members include math and science teachers, principals, university professors and business leaders. The committee will develop standards that provide guidance to local educational agencies.
The IQC, a panel of experts that advises the SBE on curriculum and instruction, will develop and recommend standards before August 2019. The standards must:
· Reflect industry trends
· Contain concepts that can be learned without the use of a computer
· Focus on solving real-world problems
· Emphasize the artistic and creative nature of computer science.
Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher, has placed a high priority on expanding and improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. He strongly promotes Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize hands-on science learning, problem-solving and working in teams.
The public can comment on the proposed standards during two separate 60-day review periods next year.
Another initiative includes establishing the California Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel. The panel will consider the best and most equitable ways of implementing the new standards, including how to expand the pool of computer science teachers, and will start work in March 2018.