BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Phil Murphy has some important news for every parent of a school student.
New Jersey’s governor is expanding access to coding and other technology education to public schools.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson's One-Shot COVID Vaccine Authorized For Emergency Use
On Monday, CBS2’s Meg Baker visited Bridgewater-Raritan High School, where she toured a college-level computer science class.
“I want to go into machine learning … That’s what really excites me!” one student said.
The governor announced a plan to create statewide standards and ensure every student in New Jersey has access to computer science education. That includes coding, artificial intelligence and more. Right now, not every school has the funding, technology or teachers to be able to teach these courses.
However, Murphy said state funding will help.
“These are the disciplines that are fueling our future. They are the skills employers are looking for in prospective employees,” Murphy said.READ MORE: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran Exposed To Positive COVID-19 Case, Will Quarantine
The programs reach beyond the basic buildings blocks of education and will start in elementary school. That’s especially important in today’s changing global economy.
“And they’ll enter into a field that, at least here in New Jersey, as our governor has shared, pays an average of more than $107,000 starting salary,” said Dr. David Grier of the New Jersey Department of Education.
But science, technology, engineering and math — STEM fields — are still male dominated. One student hopes to change that tide of STEM.
“Technological innovation requires the collaboration of individuals with different backgrounds and skill sets. The lack of female representation in computer science is therefore significantly hindering our ability to move forward as a society and to create comprehensive solutions for all,” Meher Mankikar said.
Teachers say getting both male and female students interested at a young age will hopefully bridge that gap.MORE NEWS: Former New Jersey Elementary School Teacher Gustavo Barrientos Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Multiple Children
New Jersey lacks computer science teachers, so the plan also includes training for educators. In New York, it’s up to each school district to determine the curriculum.