TCEA’s Testimony on HB 5 in Senate Education Committee

On April 16th, TCEA provided oral and written testimony at the Texas Senate Education Committee on HB 5. The oral testimony starts around 1:00 on the video. 

Below are the written comments submitted to the Texas Senate Education Committee on  HB 5.

 

J_Bergland at Senate Ed_4_16_2013The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is pleased to support HB 5. We support the flexibility the bill provides for students and districts by providing a foundation high school program and the ability for students to achieve an endorsement in several areas. This will give students options, which are not present with the current high school program.

As the Senate amends HB 5, it is important to be aware that there are two curriculum strands that have technology-related courses: Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Technology Applications (TA).  The original version of both HB 5 and SB 3 only mentioned the courses in CTE. HB 5 was amended to add technology applications in the definition of applied STEM courses; however there were some additional amendments that were added to HB 5 on the House floor that mention career technical education, but do not reference the courses in the technology-applications strand. Students need to be able to choose from all of the courses that are related to technology in the high school enrichment curriculum. Therefore, we request that the Senate review HB 5 and add technology applications to the bill.

Texas has placed an emphasis on recruiting and attracting companies from other states, especially those companies who are helping design and engineer the next technological innovations. To ensure that Texans fill the new jobs that these companies will bring to our state, we need more students entering Texas universities and colleges prepared to study computer science and engineering. The belief has been that Texas students are equipped with the necessary technology literacy skills to function in college and a career. There is a growing concern, however, that although Texas students may know how to function online and operate consumer electronics, the vast majority of them have very little computational thinking skills.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that by 2018, computing occupations in the United States will grow by 21%, or about 800,000 new jobs, which is more than double the growth rate of all occupations in the United States[1]. The National Science Foundation estimates that computer science will outpace all other science and engineering professions combined.  It is predicted that by 2018, over 71% of the STEM related jobs will be related to computing. However, according to the Texas Department of Labor, only 31% of the job openings in Texas that require computer science degrees can be filled. [2]

With less than 2% of all Texas high school students taking a computer science course for each of the last four years[3], Texas will never be able to meet the job demand for computer scientists if more students are not exposed to some type of computer science course in high school.  By ensuring that students can choose courses from the technology-applications strand to satisfy graduation requirements, this bill is an important step in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.


[2] National Center for Information Technology, http://www.ncwit.org/edjobsmap

[3] PEIMS data from TEA

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About Jennifer Bergland

Director of Government Relations at the Texas Computer Education Association
This entry was posted in Curriculum, Technology Applications and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to TCEA’s Testimony on HB 5 in Senate Education Committee

  1. Pingback: Computer Science K-5 - Advocacy and the Law

  2. Karen North says:

    Again, thank you for staying on top of this. I added this to my blog: http://www.build-a-brain.com.

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