SUPPORT HOUSE BILL 170 - Computer science for ohio

As business leaders, educators, parents, and members of the public, we join forces to deliver a bipartisan message about opportunity and the American Dream.  We are asking for your vote for HB 170  that prescribes support for computer science education.

Computing is transforming society at an unprecedented rate. Whether it’s smartphones or social networks, self-driving cars or personalized medicine, nothing embodies the American Dream so much as the opportunity to change or even reinvent the world with technology. And participating in this world requires access to computer science in our schools. We ask you to provide funding for every student in every school to have an opportunity to learn computer science.

What is Computer Science?   "Computer science" means logical reasoning, computing systems, networks and the internet, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, impacts of computing, and structured problem solving skills applicable in many contexts from science and engineering to the humanities  and business.  This is not keyboarding, digital literacy, Adobe Photoshop or working with Microsoft Office or Google Classroom.  It is also not a listing all of the computers, hardware, software and networking equipment a school district has.

Support for this idea is sweeping our nation: 93% of parents want their child’s school to teach computer science.  75% of Americans believe computer science is cool in a way it wasn’t 10 years ago. And 50% of Americans rank computer science as one of the two most important subjects of study after reading and writing.

Despite this groundswell, the majority of Ohio schools do not offer meaningful computer science courses.   There are indeed a number of programs across the state that provide computer science training and instruction by way of after-school clubs and summer camps. This, however, is not anywhere close to sufficient, given that these clubs and camps are not accessible to the majority of the population of students in most school districts. Instead, what is increasingly a basic skill is only available to the lucky few, leaving most students behind, particularly female students and underrepresented minority students.

Our schools should give all students the opportunity to understand how this technology works, to learn how to be creators, coders, and makers — not just consumers. It is imperative that computer science education be taught at every school in the state, thereby enabling every student equal access to this very important knowledge area which will be vital for their future growth, and for their entry into the knowledge workforce and ecosystem.

Not only does computer science provide every student foundational knowledge, it also leads to the highest-paying, fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. economy.  In Ohio, there are currently over 15,714 open computing jobs —which is 3.8 times the average demand rate in the state—in every sector, from manufacturing to banking, from agriculture to healthcare. But last year, Ohio only graduated 1,137 computer science majors. And of those graduated, only 18% were female.  Currently, the average salary for a computing occupation in Ohio is $79,972, which is almost double the average salary in the state ($44,750). The existing open jobs alone represent a 1.2 billion dollar opportunity in terms of annual salaries.

This isn’t just about technology companies, this is about Ohio. While nationally, one-third of computer science jobs are in the tech industry, the other two-thirds are in other fields: agriculture, manufacturing, banking, government. We need to support these opportunities for Ohio students to thrive in their home state.

Whether a student aspires to be a software engineer, or just wants a well-rounded education in today’s changing world, access to computer science in school is an economic imperative for Ohio and our nation to remain competitive. And with the growing threat of cyber warfare, this is even a critical matter of national security. Despite this growing need, targeted state funding to carry out these efforts in classrooms is virtually non-existent. This is our chance to position the next generation to participate in the new American Dream.

We urge you to amplify and accelerate the local efforts in classrooms, unlock opportunity for every district in Ohio, and give an answer to all the parents and teachers who believe that every student, in every school, should have a chance to learn computer science. Please support HB 170.

SIGN TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR CS EDUCATION IN OHIO

Please sign our form and join us in recommending our representatives to support HB 170.