Reps. Tony Cárdenas And Pete Olson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Invest In High School Coding Programs
WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to keep America as the world leader in innovation and technology, establish a crucial pipeline between students and jobs, and strengthen America’s national security, Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Pete Olson (R-TX) are introducing H.R. 6334, the High School CODES Act.
This bill will help high schools create or expand coding education programs through a new grant program within the National Activities Fund at the U.S. Department of Education. These grants would be available to local educational agencies whose programs allow high school students to fulfill a graduation requirement by taking a coding class in place of a mathematics, science, or foreign language class.
Currently, there are more than 500,000 open computing jobs nationwide but less than 50,000 computer science students graduating into the workforce last year. By 2020, there will be an estimated 1.4 million computer programming jobs, with only 400,000 American computer science students to fill those jobs. Nine out of 10 schools in the United States do not even offer computer programming classes.
Rep. Tony Cárdenas: “We must invest in opportunities for young people so they can work in the growing technology industry. When we invest in our young people, America will continue to lead the global economy. The tech industry is creating new jobs daily, and as legislators, we need to make sure our schools get the funding they deserve to educate the future workforce of America.”
Computer programming jobs are growing at nearly twice the national average rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage in 2017 for computer programmers was $82,240, while the median annual wage for all workers was $37,690.
Rep. Pete Olson: “Our tech industry continues to grow and change on a daily basis. We must ensure our education system can give our students the necessary tools to train a 21st century technology workforce and compete on a global level. I’m proud to help lead this effort and thank Rep. Cárdenas for his work on this issue. I encourage the House to act quickly to pass this legislation.”
The High School CODES Act would:
- Direct the U.S. Secretary of Education to create a five-year demonstration program within the National Activities Fund that offers grants to local educational agencies;
Prioritize grant applications from rural or underserved areas;
- Require all grant applications to report data about their program’s findings, successes, and failures to the U.S. Department of Education; and
- Ensure that each application provides a spending proposal, goal descriptions, and a plan to become a self-sustaining program.