Early Support for Computer Science Education Training Among Educators

Written by Laurel Oetken

April 16, 2024

While early in our first full-year of operation, Tech Nebraska started to engage with key pieces of legislation related to technology and innovation policy during the 108th session of the Nebraska Legislature.

Tech Nebraska and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce have testified on, and have actively monitored several bills during the session, including supporting LB1284, which first aimed to establish a statewide computer science education expansion program. 

LB1284 was introduced by Senator Lynne Walz representing District 15, which includes Fremont, Nebraska and the surrounding areas. LB 1284 was also specified as a priority bill for Senator Walz. 

As introduced, LB1284 would require the Nebraska Department of Education to establish a statewide computer science education expansion program to provide training in computer science and technology education, which would, in turn, allow the State Department of Education to recruit, train and support teachers in computer science and technology seeking the following: 

  • Training for teachers seeking supplemental computer science certification
  • Training designed to support the integration of computer science and technology education into the instructional programs of elementary, middle and high schools 
  • Support for schools and teachers in the development of computer science instructional plans that are consistent with the academic content standards for computer science and technology education adopted by the State Board of Education 

If passed as intended, the bill would also allow the State Department of Education to employ or contact with computer science specialists to develop and deliver computer science educator training and would require the State Department of Education to provide an annual report to the Governor and the Clerk of the Legislator related to the program, number of teachers who received training, number of educators who became certified, etc. 

LB1284 would also ensure that a Computer Science and Technology Education Fund would be created to support future funding outside of the fiscal year of 2024-2025 for this program. 

Laurel Oetken, Executive Director for Tech Nebraska testified on behalf of the NE Chamber, Nebraska Chamber’s Association and Tech Nebraska members in support of LB1284 during its hearing on January 30, 2024 and said, “The rapid and almost daily evolution of technology has transformed the way we live, work, and communicate. To ensure that Nebraska’s youth are well-equipped for the future and have the skills necessary for technology-related or advanced jobs, it is imperative that we provide them with comprehensive education in computer science and technology.” 

“The proposed expansion program outlined in this bill presents a commendable initiative to not only allow for the upskilling of an existing workforce – teachers – but also for those educators to provide up-to-date educational experiences in areas of STEM to students in the K-12 system”. 

Laurel Oetken

As of April 11, 2024, LB1284 was passed on a final reading within the legislature with emergency clause with 42 votes in support of the bill.

Tech Nebraska strongly believes this legislation will be an investment in our future and that it will have a lasting and positive impact on the education and prosperity of our community. Investing in computer science education not only benefits individual students and educators, it also contributes to the economic growth and technological advancement of our state.

To learn more about LB1284 or to read the bill please visit the Nebraska Legislature’s bill tracking page.

Members or prospective members interested in Tech Nebraska’s advocacy efforts for the 2025 session and beyond are encouraged to fill out an interest form on our member page to engage in future policy discussions. 

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