Gov. Herbert, Lt. Gov. Cox announce intent to fund computer science in all Utah schools

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. File photo: Wikimedia Commons

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 9, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced his intent Monday to dedicate $10.2 million in his upcoming budget recommendations to the legislature to ensure every K-12 student in the state has access to computer science education.

In an event Monday morning at the State Capitol, Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox and technology industry leaders from Utah’s Silicon Slopes joined the governor in expressing support for the initiative, said a news release from the Office of the Governor.

Over the past year, Talent Ready Utah, in partnership with Pluralsight One, has coordinated efforts between government, industry and education leaders to develop, adopt and implement a statewide Computer Science Master Plan that aligns efforts to meet Gov. Herbert’s goal to ensure every student has the opportunity to learn computer science by the year 2022, the news release said.

“Computer science teaches students about technology, encourages them to think critically, and helps them develop problem-solving skills,” said Herbert, by way of the news release.

“Improving computer science education in our state is crucial and will help prepare our next generation of learners, teachers, thinkers, and innovators to make a robust contribution in tomorrow’s digital world.”

In the past year, Utah has completed five of the nine national policy recommendations around computer science. It has also become the 12th state in the nation to build and adopt a Computer Science Master Plan, the news release said. The State Board of Education also approved K-5 grade-level standards in 2019. In 2018, it adopted a framework for K-12 computer science standards.

“We cannot underestimate the role computer science and technology play in Utah’s current and future economy,” Cox said. “Expanding computer science education to every school is not only vital to meet the needs of the market but also opens doors for our students. By partnering with Silicon Slopes to get computer science education in every school, we are demonstrating that Utah is serious about keeping its place as a national economic leader.”

In addition to the $10.2 million Herbert announced in his proposed budget, industry partners have also stepped up to help provide wrap-around funding through the Silicon Slopes Computer Science Fund at the Community Foundation of Utah. The Silicon Slopes founders and their spouses have personally invested $4 million so far in ensuring an equitable future for the students and teachers of Utah through their contributions and pledges to computer science outcomes.

“Gov. Herbert understands that computer science is now a foundational literacy that is critical to preparing students to succeed in our technology-driven world, and his budget now clearly establishes access to computer science for all Utah students as a priority for the state,” said Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight. “These funds, combined with the power of the Silicon Slopes Computer Science Fund as a vehicle for all donors across the state to support the master plan for computer science, will put us on course to fulfill our collective vision of ensuring every K-12 student has the opportunity to learn computer science by 2022.”

Herbert closed his remarks by declaring the second week of December as Utah Computer Science Education Week in Utah.

You can learn more about the Silicon Slopes Computer Science Fund here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here