Washington, D.C. - More kids nationwide may get the opportunity to learn to code under newly signed legislation that was sponsored by a Washington state lawmaker.
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell's legislation was signed into law as part of the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Cantwell’s provision will help high schools throughout the country establish or expand computer coding education programs by expanding the use of federal funds to support coding programs. It also incentivizes states that allow high school students to take a coding class in place of a mathematics, science, or foreign language class in order to fulfill a graduation requirement.
“In Washington, more than 13,000 internet companies provide more than a quarter of a million jobs, and we want to keep this American success story going,” said Senator Cantwell. “But to do that, we need to make sure that these start-ups have the workforce of tomorrow that they need, and that's why it's so important for children throughout the United States to be able to learn to code in school.”
In Washington state, only 1,212 students graduated from college with computer science degrees in 2015, leaving more than 16,200 computing jobs unfilled today.
"I took typing and Latin as my prerequisite requirements in college," said Cantwell. "I'm not saying [it] didn't help me today. But I question whether we are teaching the same skills today that we need for the 21st century economy."
According to Code.org, 90 percent of parents in the United States want their children to study or understand computer science, but only 40 percent of schools teach computer programming.