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Diegnan & Ruiz Bill Designating ‘Computer Science Education Endorsement’ Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz that would designate a computer science education endorsement on an instructor’s teaching certificate was approved by the full Senate today.

“We need to ensure that those teaching computer science to our young people are the most qualified individuals for the job, as these vital skills will form the base of our future economy,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex).  “This bill ensures that our computer science instructors are rightly prepared and recognized to teach these important courses to our students.”

The bill, S-1816, directs the State Board of Education to designate the endorsement on an instructor teaching endorsement certificate. The endorsement would authorize the holder to teach computer science in all public schools. It would be required to teach computer science in grades 7 through 12 once the state board determines that there are a sufficient number of teachers holding the endorsement to meet the needs of the state.

“The accreditation process is critical to making sure those entrusted with educating the future leaders of our state on the topic of computer science are prepared to do so,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Having the best experts leading the next generation of leaders will ensure students are prepared for future paths.”

Under the bill, a candidate for the endorsement would have to hold a standard instructional certificate with at least one other endorsement. The candidate would also have to provide documentation of completion of coursework related to computer science. The State Board of Education would determine which courses apply and how many credit hours are required but could require no more than 15 credits.

The bill provides that a teacher who taught computer science within the three years prior to the effective date of this act shall be issued the endorsement if the teacher, through coursework and/or teaching experience, has met the knowledge and skill standards for the endorsement.

The bill was passed through the Senate by a vote of 39-0