Allow CTE with CS Exam Endorsement to Teach CS
Dear Professional Standards Education Board (PESB),
According to current Washington state regulations, "Plan 2" Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers who obtained their initial license through industry experience cannot teach computer science courses even if they pass the WEST-E/NES computer science endorsement exam. Only teachers who have completed a traditional teacher preparation program can gain credentials to teach computer science through the exam.
The content knowledge required to pass the computer science endorsement exam is not too difficult for many of our teachers. Many states have implemented asynchronous online training programs requiring less than 40 hours of study to help their teachers pass exams similar to the WEST-E/NES exam.
Washington state has a significant shortage of teachers qualified to teach secondary computer science. According to the 2021 State of Computer Science Education Report from Code.org, CSTA, & ECEP Alliance, only 48.8% of Washington high schools provide a foundational computer science course compared to 51.3% nationwide. Only 4.0% of Washington state high school students enroll in a foundational computer science course compared to 4.7% nationwide.
The oversight described above prevents "Plan 2" CTE teachers with industry experience in fields that increasingly rely on computer science, such as business, medicine, engineering, consumer sciences, and agriculture, from ever teaching computer science. In addition to their practical industry experience with computers, many of these "Plan 2" CTE teachers have several years of teaching experience and more scheduling flexibility to take on a new computer science course.
In addition, the current V-code chart for CTE Certification omits many popular computer science courses. For example, AP Computer Science, IB Computer Science, PLTW Computer Science, Exploring Computer Science, and Computer Science Discoveries are missing from the CTE V-code chart. Yet, many Washington schools provide these courses under CTE funding, and many "Plan 2" CTE teachers with industry experience in "Computer Technology" teach these courses. This is another instance where oversight in the certification pathway for computer science teachers has hindered the growth of computer science education in Washington state.
Please consider modifying Washington state regulations to remove these artificial barriers preventing more teachers from teaching computer science courses in Washington state at your next board meeting. Thank you very much for your time and thoughtful consideration.