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June 19, 2021

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Rosen proposes bill to bolster teacher training in computer science

Sen. Jacky Rosen: Editorial Board Meeting

Steve Marcus

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., responds to a question during an editorial board meeting at the Las Vegas Sun offices in Henderson Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019.

CARSON CITY — For  high school teacher Fran Bromley-Norwood, computer science is one of the most important subjects students can learn. It’s something that stretches across industries, she said.

Bromley-Norwood, who teaches at at Cheyenne High School and is one of the cofounders of the Nevada chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association, is supporting legislation recently brought forward by U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., to provide training for computer science teachers.

“It’s exceptionally important for teachers to be able to have the opportunity to learn about computer science and how to teach it so they can implement it in their classroom,” Bromley-Norwood said.

Rosen has reintroduced the Teacher Education for Computer Science Act.

Computer science education has been a hallmark policy goal for Rosen — she introduced the act in 2019 and has brought forward numerous other bills related to science, technology, engineering and math education.

The bill would amend the Higher Education Act to make computer science education eligible for teacher preparation grants and graduate fellowships now restricted to other subjects. It would also create new grants allowing higher-education institutions to establish new teacher education programs for computer science.

The goal is to train K-12 teachers how best to teach computer science.

The bipartisan bill has three cosponsors, Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. The bill will have companion legislation in the House of Representatives filed by Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.

“We can’t adequately educate our students without first properly training our educators,” Rosen said in a statement. “I’m reintroducing this bipartisan legislation to provide educators with the professional development they need to teach our students computer science knowledge and skills.”

Andreas Stefik, an associate professor of computer science at UNLV, said computer science has not gotten enough attention in K-12 education. It’s important to extend computer science education for numerous reasons, including that computer science jobs are in demand.

Bromley-Norwood said that it is important to ensure there are qualified teachers to support K-12 education in computer science, a topic which she said changes often.

“Obviously this technology is evolving on a daily basis, if not a second-by-second basis,” she said.