Burgum joins governors' partnership aimed at increasing access to K-12 computer science education

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 4:30pm

Gov. Doug Burgum is joining Governors for Computer Science, a partnership comprised of bipartisan state leaders committed to advancing policy and funding to expand access to, and increase equity in, K-12 computer science education.

“Providing access to computer science courses is fundamental to our students’ success and an important part of our focus on innovative education and addressing workforce development gaps in our state,” said Burgum. “Additional exposure to computer science in K-12 will help our students succeed in a 21st century economy where computing is part of virtually every facet of our daily lives.”

Goals of the partnership include enabling all high schools to offer at least one rigorous computer science course, funding professional learning opportunities so teachers can be prepared to teach these courses and creating a set of high-quality academic standards for K-12 computer science to guide local implementation of courses.

Code.org, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science education, says 90 percent of parents want their child to study computer science, and students who learn the subject in high school are six times more likely to become computer science majors in college. According to the nonprofit, a computer science major can earn 40 percent more in their lifetime than the average college graduate, and North Dakota has more than 600 open computing jobs.

“As Code.org’s Regional Partner for North Dakota, we are excited that Gov. Burgum has joined the GovsForCS partnership to make Computer Science education a priority for all K-12 students,” said Devin B. Holmes, Founder of America Campaign. “In collaboration with TIE, our Teachers Teaching Tech initiative is poised to bring no-cost professional development to North Dakota’s educators and develop more opportunities for students to gain relevant 21st century skills.”

Burgum’s participation in the initiative dovetails with an ongoing partnership between North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction and Microsoft Corp. to expand its TEALS initiative to rural schools. TEALS, which stands for Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, pairs a computer science professional with a classroom teacher to team-teach computer science.

“North Dakota can lead the nation in innovative education. Providing access to coding and computer science courses will help our students develop essential problem-solving and technology skills that will be beneficial in virtually every career path,” said Burgum.

Dec. 4-10 is Computer Science Education Week. On Friday, Burgum will participate in an “Hour of Code” event at Kindred Elementary School in Kindred, N.D. Burgum is encouraging teachers across the state to take the “Hour of Code” challenge.