A bill allowing students already proficient in a second language to take a coding class instead of a foreign language class has now passed both House and Senate chambers.
In 2017, fewer that 5,000 Virginia high school students completed AP Computer Science exams – and Hispanic students completed only around 300 of those exams.
Democratic Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy’s bill would allow students proficient in a second language like Spanish to opt out of a required foreign language credit – in favor of coding.
“So, we know how important computational thinking and coding is. It’s one of the classes that a student can take, graduate from school and actually enter a job paying about $20/hour. And that’s something we want. We want our students to be able to enter the workforce, because not every child doesn’t want to go to college.”
Carroll Foy’s bill isn’t the General Assembly’s only initiative to incentivize tech-related careers.
The House budget currently includes over $40 million in funding to increase the number of graduates with degrees in data science and engineering by 6% over the biennium.
That’s critical for a state with over 35,000 open computing jobs – and only a fraction of graduates to fill the roles.