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Washington State Rolls Out Standards for Teaching Computer Science

Washington State marked Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 5 until Dec. 11 this year, by introducing a new set of K-12 standards in the subject. 

The state's superintendent of education, Randy Dorn, signed the standards into effect yesterday. The Washington standards are based on the Computer Science Teachers AssocIation's standards

Right now, just 11 percent of the state's schools offer programs that would help students meet the standards, Gov. Jay Inslee said at a press event yesterday. The state plans to evaluate programs around the state, with the goal of having 50 percent of schools offering programs that meet the standards by 2019.

Washington isn't alone in pushing for a more prominent role for computer science in public schools. More states are moving to allow students to count computer science as a math or science credit, and earlier this year, Virginia became the first state to require that all students take computer science. 

Earlier this week, the White House released a statement on its Computer Scence for All initiative noting efforts by states, including New Hampshire and Virginia, and districts, including Houston, to implement standards for computer science. The White House notes that in 2016, 27 governors have called on Congress to support computer science education and 14 states have expanded computer science education in some way. 

But as the home of Microsoft, Amazon, and a thriving technology industry, Washington is perhaps more interested than most in improving computer science education. The state has been importing many of its tech employees: Last year, according to state lawmakers, there were 20,000 open jobs in computer science but just over 1,000 graduates from colleges and universities in Washington State with degrees in the subject.   

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