The new year brought the much anticipated announcement of Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 budget proposal — and with it, exciting news for technology-related education, including computer science (CS).
Governor Newsom has been a longtime champion for CS education equity in California, and was instrumental in launching the CSforCA Coalition while he was Lt. Governor.
Over his years in office, the Governor took important leaps to enhance and improve CS education in our state, funding California’s first Computer Science Coordinator position and implementing California’s first set of Computer Science Content Standards for K-12 schools, as well as the CA Strategic Implementation Plan. Governor Newsom has also been committed to increasing CS professional learning and resources for classroom educators including the Educator Workforce Investment Grant, as well as supporting broadband infrastructure in our schools.
Now, Governor Newsom’s 2022 proposal includes a $1.5 billion Proposition 98 General Fund over four years to enhance and expand the offering of seamless pathways from high school to college and career, including technology-related pathways, like CS.
Governor Newsom’s Proposition 98 General Fund seeks to bolster technology-related career pathways, including CS, green technology, and engineering. As foundational knowledge needed across all subjects, CS helps prepare students for college, careers, and civic engagement.
The budget also allocates an additional $20 million to the one-time Proposition 98 General Fund for a grant program incentivizing public-private partnerships to prepare students in grades 9 to 14 for high-skill fields, like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Proposition 98 General Fund marks an important step in the ongoing journey to make CS education more equitable for all students in California. At CSforCA, we believe that the competencies gained in studying CS — including coding, computational thinking, and digital literacy — equip students with the skills and abilities necessary in our increasingly digital world.
We are encouraged that Governor Newsom is committing to increase the number of California students who enroll in STEM. To help make this a reality, the Governor is proposing to strengthen coordinated educational pathways from high school through four-year college in multiple subjects, including the technology field. A key component of doing so lies with equipping California Community Colleges (CCCs), California State University (CSU) schools, and University of California (UC) schools to bolster pathways to enable students to gain necessary CS training — and with it, open the door to some of the highest paying and fastest growing jobs in the U.S.
We are eager to hear more details about funding specifically allocated to CS education in the Governor’s revised budget in May.
Despite this much needed support from Governor Newsom, there remain significant racial and gender disparities in our state that limit students’ full access to CS education.
Just 42% of high schools in California offer CS courses, and just 2% of California’s high school students took an AP CS course in 2019 — a strong predictor of pursuing CS in college and careers. Low-income students, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, and girls are significantly less likely to have access to CS courses, are less likely to participate in CS courses, and are less likely to pass CS courses when they do take them. It’s no surprise that inequitable access to CS education leads to disparities in California’s technology workforce, which fails to reflect the diversity of California.
As a governor who believes California serves everyone, not just some, we hope that Governor Newsom will agree that expanding CS opportunities for all students is critical in order to make strides against persistent inequities, and provide young people pathways for college and career success that will ultimately lead to a more just, equitable, and productive society.
The Governor’s budget reflects many of CSforCA’s 2022 policy goals, and we are committed to working with the Governor and the legislature to ensure California is a leader in CS education by continuing to push for the following priorities:
The 2022 California state budget marks a real opportunity to advance CS equity in schools across California. With this budget proposal, the governor is demonstrating his continued commitment to building a solid infrastructure to offer equitable, sustainable, and scalable high-quality CS education across California — but our work is not done. Ongoing investment in CS education is needed as a continued investment in our students. If you’d like to learn more, click here to see Governor Newsom’s full 2022 Budget Proposal.