About 45 people braved the near zero temperatures and traveled from Kansas City, St. Louis, Bolivar, and Springfield for this special legislative day in Jefferson City to promote computer science education reform in Missouri. I'm extremely proud that 16 of the 45 people in attendance were from Southwest Missouri:
- Emily Denniston, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
- Alex Greiwe, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
- Deb Wilson, O’STEAM
- Jason Arend, Eagle Speak
- Bob Graham, Audio Acoustics
- Tom Douglas, JMark Business Systems
- Tim DeClue, Southwest Baptist University
- Andy Yohn, Product Lead, Duck Creek Technologies
- Kurt Theobald, Classy Llama
- Jonathan Hodges, Class Llama
- Lisa Perkins, CS teacher at Humansville High School, Humansville, MO.
- Robin Robertson, CS teacher at Republic High School, Republic, MO and SWMO CSTA Vice President
- Brad Sterling, Technology Director for Bolivar Public Schools and strong supporter of K12 CS Ed.
- Doug Starkey, Technology and STEM Education Director for Camdenton Public Schools, and high school APCS teacher.
- Andy Yohn, product lead and co-founder of Duck Creek Technologies (an insurance software company headquartered in Bolivar, MO which employs around 1000 people around the world, including a few hundred in Bolivar).
We met with the following legislators:
- Lt. Governor Mike Parsons
- Rep. Mike Stephens
- Rep. Elijah Haahr
- Sen. Jay Wasson
- Sen. Bob Dixon
- Sen. Sandy Crawford
...and ALL showed strong support for a statewide framework for bringing computer science courses to all K-12 schools in Missouri. We are hopeful that this will be the year where progress is made on this front. The legislative session is just beginning, and much...or little, depending on the political landscape...can happen between now and the end of May.
Wherever this legislation goes this year, we appreciate the efforts of the KC Tech Council, code.org, and, most importantly, YOU, our MATA members.
Wanted to share a quick update with you from my friend, Katie Hendrickson, PhD, Director of State Government Affairs for Code.org. She is working with organizations in Missouri like MATA to promote legislation that supports computer science education in our K-12 schools.
Here's her update:
1) Rep. Fitzwater filed HB 1623 to expand computer science opportunities. This bill has been referred to the Workforce Development Committee and we anticipate a hearing very soon -- possibly this Wednesday. The bill would a) define computer science and develop academic performance standards for computer science, b) develop a teacher endorsement in computer science, c) allow a student to fulfill a math, science, or practical arts unit with computer science, and d) and would create a "Computer Science Education Fund" in the state treasury. We support this bill as we see it creating a system around computer science education and giving school districts guidance around implementation. Sen. Libla has filed the same language in SB 894.
2) Other bills related to computer science education: HB 1457 (Rep. Lauer) would require all high schools to offer computer programming. SB 571 was pre-filed by Sen. Silvey but as he has left office, the bill is essentially dead.
I would love to hear your feedback about HB 1623/SB 894. Please also considering submitting testimony in support of the legislation (let me know if you’d like me to share with you the date the bills will be heard in committee). You can also find Code.org's fact sheet around computer science education in MO here and a 1-pager about our current effort in MO here.
Thank you -- I look forward to seeing progress in MO around this important issue!
We're excited...and proud! We made it as a finalist for this year's Biz 417/AITP Excellence in Technology Community Impact Award. We're in great company, as the other two finalists were the eFactory (a great MATA advocate!) and Hack4Good Springfield (an event we are passionate about!) This is a testament to the hard work of our board and members who are in the community every day living the vision and mission of MATA. And without our sponsors who believe in the work we do and support us every step of the way, this one's for you, as well. It truly is a time to celebrate our growing, vibrant tech community.
Please join us March 1st for this celebration; and let this remind you of how important you are to MATA!