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Governor Murphy Announces “Computer Science for All” Initiatives to Advance K-12 STEM Education

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Governor Phil Murphy today announced details of his “Computer Science for All” initiative, a plan to bring technology and programming-focused classes to schools across New Jersey. The FY 2019 budget includes $2 million to increase the number of public high schools that offer advanced computer science courses.

Governor Murphy’s initiative will help equip New Jersey’s students with the foundational skills needed for the jobs of the future and prepare them to understand modern technology. The $2 million in funding will support grants for high schools to offer advanced computer science courses and to support teachers’ professional development, with applications due in late October and grant rollout beginning in January 2019. This marks the first time that New Jersey has specifically funded expanding computer science education.

Schools that receive grants will track the number of courses created, the number of students enrolled in these courses, and the number of students who earn college credits and industry valued credentials. Preference will be given to schools that receive Title I funds.

“In the 21st-century economy, we must prepare our students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to think about the world in new and creative ways,” said Governor Murphy. “Computer Science for All is a game-changer, giving our children the tools they need to learn coding and tackle complex problems in an increasingly technologically-connected world. I’m proud we are laying the groundwork so that all of our children can harness the power of technology and be responsible digital citizens.

“The overarching goal of our efforts is to provide opportunity to all students,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “In today’s tech-based world, it’s especially crucial that we offer our young minds the skills they need to make them more successful when they enter the global workforce.”

Governor Murphy further announced that the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology will be repurposed into the Office of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This new office will oversee subjects like educational technology, computer science, and cybersecurity. The Office of STEM will convene a newly appointed Computer Science Advisory Board, which will help the Department update its Technology Standards and create a State Plan for Computer Science education. The Technology Standards enable students to use digital tools and to understand the nature and impact of engineering, design, and computational thinking. This will be the State’s first update to its 2014 standards, and the Department will release the State Plan in 2019.

Governor Murphy also announced today that New Jersey will join the Governor’s Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to expanding access and funding for Computer Science education. Governor Murphy will be the eighteenth governor to join, and New Jersey has already started working to fulfill the organization’s three commitments: enabling all high schools to offer at least one Computer Science course, funding professional development, and creating high-quality standards.

“All students need to learn computer science to be ready for the career opportunities created by our digital economy. We applaud Governor Murphy for his leadership to expand access to computer science for all students and to create new opportunities in this field for educators,” said Fred Humphries, Corporate Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft. “These steps will create a brighter economic future for New Jersey. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and non-profit partners like Code.org on this new initiative.”

“Google applauds Governor Murphy for his commitment and investment in CS Education across the state,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Google Head of Public Affairs for New York and New Jersey. “Increased access to STEM curriculum is a key component to ensuring students have the tools to prepare for the future and gain exposure to new opportunities.  We can’t wait to see what teachers and students throughout New Jersey can achieve with these amazing resources at their fingertips.”

“Computer Science jobs are growing at three times the national average and are a vital part of growing a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” said Patricia Morgan, Executive Director of JerseyCAN. “If we are going to take advantage of the opportunities in the innovation economy, we need to make sure that every child is learning computer science throughout their education. Governor Murphy’s announcement of a comprehensive computer science plan will ensure that New Jersey is a step ahead in connecting K-12 computer science to the workforce, training computer science educators, and ensuring a robust pipeline of diverse and well-prepared students to grow our middle class and fuel New Jersey’s economic growth.”

“For far too long, too few students saw a place for themselves in a computer science class. However, strong state leaders like Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature have set the stage for a dramatic transformation. With this critical investment, we look forward to partnering with districts across New Jersey to make sure that more students from all backgrounds have greater access to and success in computer science coursework,” said David Adams, Regional Middle States Region Vice President at the College Board.

“Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra,” said Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org. “We applaud Governor Murphy for his continued commitment to expand computer science across the state of New Jersey by joining the Governor’s Partnership for K12 Computer Science.”

The Notice of Grant Opportunity can be found here: https://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/education/grants/gropps2.pl?string=recnum=01768&maxhits=1

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