Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Licensure Regulations for School Personnel [8 VAC 20 ‑ 22]
Action Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 11/6/2015
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11/5/15  4:13 pm
Commenter: Chris Dovi, CodeVA

8VAC20-23-300 Computer Science teacher licensure

CodeVA, the state's primary organization advocating for and providing training to Computer Science teachers, has deep concerns about the proposed licensure for computer science as it may affect current veteran teachers teaching Computer Science.

Many of those current CS teachers are math endorsed; that endorsement status is what the state has indicacted this regulatory change seeks to "fix.". As the proposed regulatory change currently reads, there is no provision allowing those CS teachers to continue teaching the course if they lack either the primary or add-on CS endorsement. Also not addressed is whether a teacher offering the course one year, but whose class lacks sufficient enrollment during the following year would be able to then teach the class in the third year, should it then have sufficient student enrollment. 

This omission is in spite of the reality that these are highly qualified teachers (some have been a part of the College Board's process of development for the new AP CS Principles course), and represent the front line for the state's efforts to graduate CS-literate students at a time when Computer Science jobs are growing at a rate that is four times the national average. 

Virginia is currently 7th in the nation for AP Computer Science A test takers. Based on these students' exemplary test scores, these current math-endorsed teachers clearly are qualified to teach Computer Science. The list of teachers whose current endorsement would no longer allow them to teach the couse includes TWO current AP CS A readers, an elit designation from College Board that entrusts these teachers with being part of the small international team that grades all AP CS A tests. 

Unlike other foundational subject areas like math or English, this course represents the only standardized Computer Science course in the state - there are only a handful of districts able to offer standard-level CS courses for want of teachers, or for reasons related to how CS currently can count as an elective course. This means that Virginia is FAR from producing enough students possessing the requisite CS literacy skills needed to fill a digital jobs gap in the state that is fast growing. The current AP stats show fewer than 2,500 students took the exam in 2014. Meanwhile, the CS jobs gap is widening fast; nearly 35,000 jobs currently, with a projected 70,000 jobs in just a few years, according to the state.

CodeVA voiced its concerns directly to state DOE representatives early in this process. We see no changes to address this clear concern that could have the unintendend effect of doing untold damage to the state's current high school Computer Science capacity.