Diegnan & Ruiz Bill Designating ‘Computer Science Education Endorsement’ Clears Committee

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

“We need to ensure that our educators have the best tools available in order to teach our young people these vital skills which will form the base of our economic future,” 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, and would be required to teach computer science in grades 7 through 12 at such time as the state board determines that there are a sufficient number of teachers holding the computer science education endorsement to make the requirement feasible.

Under the bill, a candidate for the endorsement would have to hold a standard instructional certificate with at least other endorsement. The candidate would also have to provide documentation of completion of coursework related to computer science as determined by the State Board of Education up to a maximum of 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 a computer science education endorsement to the instructional certificate by the State Board of Examiners upon a demonstration that the teacher, through coursework and/or teaching experience, has met the knowledge and skill standards for the computer science endorsement established by the State Board of Education.

“This bill will help strengthen computer science instruction in schools and provide students a solid foundation for employment in a 21st century economy,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “The accreditation process is critical in the training and preparation of computer science teachers who take on the vital role of educating the future leaders of our state.”

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the Senate for further consideration.