Texas Rep Guerra Proposes CS Choices and Teacher Certification Options

Initiatives by state legislatures to increase American capacity in computer science continue to pop up around the country. On March 13, 2015, Texas House Member Rep. Bobby Guerra (District 41,Mission) filed H.B. No. 3700, a bill to establish a pilot program that includes professional development for teachers to become certified in the field of computer science education.

The main focus of the bill is that it would allow students in participating school districts to participate in a pilot program that allows them to take an advanced computer science course to fulfill a third mathematics or science requirement. In many states, educators and lawmakers are debating the question of whether computer science should fulfill a mathematics requirement, science requirement, or even foreign language requirement.

Those in the computer science field, however, would rather see the subject become its own discipline and be required as a core requirement. The Association for Computing Machinery, for example, and Computer Science Teacher Association offer specific curriculum for the study in the k-12 environment.

If the bill passes, districts that seek to qualify under Guerra’s pilot program, must offer a rigorous curriculum of computer science. That means it must include “creation and use of software and computing technologies.”

According to the text of the proposed bill, it would take place immediately if passed; it does not receive the necessary votes, “this Act takes effect September 1, 2015.”