Girls Who Code Passes Law with Colorado to Create First-of-its-Kind Computer Science Education Grant Program
Governor Jared Polis signs Girls Who Code HB 1277 “Concerning the Creation of the Computer Science Grant Program”, aimed at bringing underrepresented populations into technology
Colorado’s law passed in partnership with Girls Who Code part of a new national effort by the organization to encourage data tracking for K-12 CS at the state level
Westminster, Colorado (May 30, 2019) – Today, Governor Jared Polis signed HB 1277–a bill drafted in partnership with Girls Who Code–in a commitment to close the growing gender gap in K-12 computer science in Colorado. The legislation was championed by Representatives Daneya Esgar and Lisa Cutter and Senators Nancy Todd and Faith Winter.
The bill, based on recommendations from the Girls Who Code Policy Agenda, creates a grant program to fund efforts by school districts to bring underrepresented groups into K-12 computer science. The grant covers after-school programs, teacher professional development, and more. As part of the grant process, school districts will be required to report data on available computer science courses and the proportion of students enrolling by gender, race, and qualification for free and reduced lunch.
“Like many states, Colorado had not previously tracked K-12 CS enrollment making it impossible to measure, and therefore to manage, the gender gap in tech,” said Dr. Tarika Barrett, COO of Girls Who Code. “This grant program changes that–it’s an innovative and impactful way to close the gap while simultaneously helping legislators track the impact of policies targeting it.”
Colorado has more than 15,000 open tech jobs, with salaries averaging almost $100,000 per year–nearly twice the average salary in the state. Women make up less than a third of the tech workforce in Colorado, and only 24% of students taking AP computer science. According to Girls Who Code research, nearly 70% of growth in the computing pipeline can come from changing the path of the youngest girls.
“This grant program will help increase the enrollment of underrepresented populations in computer science by creating new opportunities for these students,” said Representative Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo). “It is a step in the right direction to bring change for our students and ensure we are serving them equally.”
“HB 1277 is a first step to better serve underrepresented populations and bring them into the forefront of computer science, but this is only the start – we need more data to see who is actually participating and measure the gaps that exist,” said Representative Lisa Cutter (D-Jefferson County).
Girls Who Code continues to work with state policymakers to on legislative solutions to the gender gap in K-12 computer science classrooms. The legislation in Colorado comes on the heels of similar legislation in Washington State. Both bills were designed with guidance from the Girls Who Code Policy Agenda.
“HB 1277 is an excellent first step on the way to a fairer and more equitable software industry. I am excited to see more resumés from women and people of color crossing my desk as a result of this bill,” said Andrew Sannier, Girls Who Code facilitator and software engineer. “The data that will be made available to great organizations like Girls Who Code will be invaluable in bridging the gender and color gaps in STEM.”
HB 1277 was introduced by Representatives Daneya Esgar and Lisa Cutter and co-sponsored by Representatives Shannon Bird, Janet Buckner, Bri Buentello, Monica Duran, Tony Exum, Rochelle Galindo, Leslie Herod, Edie Hooton, Dominique Jackson, Sonya Jaquez Lewis, Julie McCluskie, Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Kerry Tipper, Brianna Titone, Donald Valdez, and Mike Weissman. On the Senate, it was introduced by Senators Nancy Todd and Faith Winters, and co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Bridges, Jessie Danielson, Rhonda Fields, Dominick Moreno, Brittany Petterson, and Kevin Priola.
For full text of HB 1277 “Concerning the Creation of the Computer Science Grant Program”
For full text of the Girls Who Code Policy Agenda
ABOUT GIRLS WHO CODE
Girls Who Code is an international non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. With their 7-week Summer Immersion Program, a 2-week specialized Campus Program, after school Clubs, and College Loops program, they are leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities. Girls Who Code has reached 185,000 girls to date through its programs and 100 million people through campaigns, advocacy work, and New York Times best-selling series. To join the movement or learn more, visit girlswhocode.com.