Senator RICHARD J. CODEY
District 27 (Essex and Morris)
Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Assemblywoman CELESTE M. RILEY
District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)
Assemblyman PATRICK J. DIEGNAN, JR.
District 18 (Middlesex)
Assemblyman ANGEL FUENTES
District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)
Assemblyman TIM EUSTACE
District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)
Senator Pou, Assemblyman Singleton, Assemblywoman Watson Coleman, Assemblymen Caputo, Benson, McKeon, Assemblywoman Muoio and Assemblyman Gusciora
Requires State Board of Education to develop rigorous computer science curriculum guidelines and school districts to incorporate those guidelines in grades six through 12.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on June 23, 2014, with amendments.
An Act concerning computer science education and supplementing chapter 35 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. Computer science is transforming industry, creating new fields of commerce, driving innovation in all fields of science, and bolstering productivity in established economic sectors.
b. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by the year 2020, there will be 4.2 million jobs in computing and information technology in the United States, putting these fields among the fastest growing occupational fields.
c. The College Board reports that of the 3.4 million Advanced Placement exams given in 2011, only about 20,000 of those were in computer science.
d. In the 2012-2013 school year, only 9 states allowed computer science courses to count toward secondary school core graduation requirements, chilling student interest in computer science courses.
e. Many states’ middle and high school curriculums are almost exclusively focused on skill-based aspects of computing and have few standards on the conceptual aspects of computer science that lay the foundation for innovation and deeper study in the field.
f. Computer science education has been encumbered by confusion with technology education and the use of technology in education, which are related but distinct concepts.
g. Exposing middle and high school students to computer science education in New Jersey would give them a deeper knowledge of the fundamentals of computing, yielding critical thinking skills that will serve them throughout their lives in numerous fields.
h. It is appropriate at this time that the Department of Education and the school districts in the State revise curricula to better educate young people in this important subject area and thus better prepare our students for effective citizenship in the 21st century.
2. 1[Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, the] The1 State Board of Education shall develop rigorous curriculum guidelines in computer science at the middle and high school levels 1that shall be incorporated within the existing Technology and Science Core Curriculum Content Standards, where appropriate1.
The goal of the curriculum guidelines shall be:
a. to prepare students to understand the nature of computer science and its place in the modern world;
b. to foster an understanding that computer science interweaves concepts and skills;
c. to enable students to use computer science skills, primarily computational thinking, in their problem-solving activities in other subjects; and
d. to complement information technology and Advanced Placement computer science curricula in school districts in which they are currently offered.
3. Beginning in the 1[2015-2016]1 school year 1following the development by the State Board of Education of the curriculum guidelines pursuant to section 2 of this act1, a school district shall 1[require a student] incorporate, where appropriate, computer science curriculum guidelines1 in grades 6 through 12 1[to complete a continuum of courses in the field of computer science. The courses shall be] which are1 in conformance with the curriculum guidelines 1[established] developed1 by the State board 1[pursuant to section 2 of this act]1.
4. As used in this act, “computer science” means the study of computers and algorithmic processes and includes the study of computing principles, computer hardware and software design, computer applications, and the impact of computers on society.
5. This act shall take effect immediately.