Murphy unveils plan to help N.J. schools establish computer science programs

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Nov 4, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday the Computer Science for All State Plan, which includes $2 million in state grants, to help schools in the state establish advanced computer science programs.

“Expanding and improving computer science programs in our public schools will help provide our students with the critical thinking skills they need to succeed in today’s global economy,” Murphy said. “Computers and technology are integral to our society and workforce, and students must be given the opportunity to learn and master these foundational skills.”

According to the plan, more than 500,000 computer science jobs are currently unfilled in the United States ⁠(15,000 in New Jersey). With an average salary of $107,260 in New Jersey, only 1,642 computer science majors graduated from state universities in 2017.

“Our mission is clear: We are committed to providing equitable access to a high-quality computer science education for all students,” Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont O. Repollet said. “Through our state plan, we are making a statement that we want New Jersey to be a leader in equipping students with high-level computer science and technology skills.”

The Computer Science for All State Plan, which was drafted by a Computer Science advisory board, calls to implement five key goals:

  1. Adopt standards in all grades K-12;
  2. Implement professional learning;
  3. Strengthen the teacher pipeline;
  4. Build capacity, partnerships and awareness;
  5. Establish a data-driven, decision-making approach.

In addition, Murphy announces three “Expanding Access to Computer Science” grants for $2 million, which will be awarded by the Spring of 2020: They include:

Professional Learning Computer Science Grants: To create a network of computer-science hubs, three higher education institutions in each region of the state will be selected to receive up to $265,000 each to partner with school districts that have at least one Title I school.

Developing Curricula to Support CTE Pathways: To support IT in schools offering career and technical education programs, one school will receive up to $205,000 to create two model curricula programs of study (one in programming and one in networking/cybersecurity) to assist secondary school districts and post-secondary CTE programs in implementing the Information Technology Career Cluster.

High School Courses: To provide more opportunities for students to participate in advanced computer science courses, 15 or more awards up to $66,500 each will be awarded to various high schools to prepare for Advanced Placement computer science courses, credential programs in computer science or college credit classes in computer science.

“Following up on last year’s funding and announcement of joining the Governor’s Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, Governor Murphy continues to advance his commitment to computer science education,” Pat Yongpradit, chief academic officer of Code.org, said. “Today’s release of a comprehensive state plan and strategic funding initiative goes to show that New Jersey is serious about every student having the opportunity to learn computer science.”

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader