Requires an Advanced Placement Computer Science Course which may satisfy a part of either the mathematics or science credits required for high school graduation.

NJEA opposes A-2597 (Singleton, Diegnan, DiMaio).  This legislation states that, beginning in the 2014-2015 grade nine class, the State Board of Education shall require that the local graduation requirements adopted by a board of education permit an Advanced Placement computer science course to satisfy a part of the total credit requirement in either mathematics or science.

While we welcome the addition of an AP computer science course and the recognition that this course can provide students with an invaluable learning experience, in learning to design and apply computer science to solve problems, we have concerns regarding how it will satisfy mathematics or science credits.

According to the College Board AP computer science course description, a basic knowledge of algebra is the only prerequisite needed to take the course.  However, it says the course is not a substitute for the usual college prep mathematics courses.  It also states that students and their advisors should understand that a computer science course builds upon a foundation of mathematical reasoning that should be acquired before taking the course.

Offering an AP computer science course in place of mathematics or science seems to be at odds with the requirements that are currently being phased in by the State Board of Education with regard to the Common Core State Standards in mathematics.  In order to graduate, students will need to take Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II.  They must also complete end of the year course exams that will ensure they are ready for college and career.  How does the AP computer science course help students meet this requirement?

At this time, New Jersey’s students and teachers are undergoing numerous changes to education, including a new curriculum designed to meet the Common Core State Standards.  These changes present new challenges to students.  In no way do we doubt the importance or need for an AP computer science course; however, there just doesn’t seem to be enough research to show how taking such a course can replace the skills required by algebra or science.  Since we do believe they can work hand-in-hand, we would appreciate the opportunity to work together to better accomplish this goal.

Therefore, until we have an opportunity to meet with the sponsors to address our concerns, we ask that you vote “NO” on A-2597.