Policy

Washington state is behind other states in implementing CS for All.

What are our state's current policies?

Code.org maintains a progress report on each state's K-12 CS education policy (including an up-to-date spreadsheet for all states). Here's Washington state's current status:

  • Washington has established K-12 computer science standards. They borrow largely from the CSTA standards.
  • Washington has allocated some funding for professional development for current teachers.
  • Washington has certification pathways for CS teachers.
  • Washington has some pre-service programs that are beginning to integrate CS teacher preparation. See the future teachers page for a list.
  • Washington state's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has a dedicated CS position to oversee state efforts.
  • Washington allows CS to count for a core graduation requirement.
  • Washington allows CS to count as a core admission requirement at institutions of higher education.

These policies were established primarily by SHB 1813.

In 2019, two policies were passed regarding CS:

  • SB 5088 did two things:
    • Required that public high schools in Washington state offer at least one CS elective by the 2022-23 school year.
    • Required that students be able to receive academic credit based on a competency examination.
  • HB 1577 required that K-12 public schools in Washington state submit a report after each year to OSPI and publish online the following data:
    • The total number of computer science and related math programs offered in each school
    • The number and percentage of students who enrolled in a computer science program; and
    • The number of computer science instructors at each school.

What policies are we missing?

If you look at Washington state's CS education map, you can see that most youth in Washington state don't even have access to CS classes. To truly reach every student, we need policies that:

  • Primary schools aren't required to teach anything about computing.
  • Middle schools aren't required to offer computing electives, or integrate computing into any required courses.
  • We have no required state plan for implementing CS for All in K-12. It needs a plan that articulates the goals for computer science, strategies for accomplishing the goals, and timelines for carrying out these. We have a state plan we believe the state should adopt.
  • We provide no sustained funding to ESDs to offer high quality professional development for CS teaching
  • We provide no funding to higher education to offer high quality pre-service programs to become CS teachers
  • Our law makes no mention of supporting students with disabilities. Other states such as Nevada have mentioned this in legislation and have state standards that mention disability.

Are there any relevant U.S. federal policies?

One federal law that might be relevant in the future is the Higher Ed Act. Title II, Part A mentions a grant program that supports K-12 teacher preparation that refers to “teacher shortage areas, including mathematics and science” (section 202(d)(5)(B)). There are two other programs in Title II-B that more specifically target training toward STEM teachers. There are some congressional efforts to update this language to include CS.

Who is championing CS education policy in Washington state?

There are many state executives and legislators who support CS for All:

  • Washington state Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib is a vocal supporter of equitable, universal CS education.
  • Washington State Senator Lisa Wellman (41st District, Mercer Island) is a vocal supporter of CS education.
  • Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-06) is a vocal supporter of K-12 STEM and CS education.
  • Representative Drew Hansen (WA-23) is a champion of CS education policy.
  • Former representative Chad Magendanz is a champion of CS education policy.

Additionally, Washington STEM advances excellence, innovation, and equity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for all Washington students, including computer science. Andy Shouse, Chief Program Officer, leads these policy lobbying efforts in consultation with the CS for All Washington team.