Holden Bill To Provide S.T.E.M. Courses In Underserved Communities Passes Key Committee

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sacramento – Under legislation proposed by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), students in underserved communities throughout California would have access to advanced coursework in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Computer Science classes.

The bill, AB 252, passed Assembly Education Committee late Wednesday on a vote of 5 to 1.  The measure is aimed at increasing the number of minority, female and low income students who often do not have access to advanced courses at their high schools.

“In many areas of California, disadvantaged students who have the potential to succeed in AP courses never get the chance,” testified Assemblymember Holden. “Increasing access to AP courses in the STEM fields, especially for underrepresented minority students, ensures that California’s workforce will be diverse and well-prepared for the developments that spur technology.”

AB 252 creates a grant program to help school districts meet the costs associated with creating Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the STEM fields. According to the National Science Foundation, women only make up a quarter of the workers in the STEM industry, while Hispanic, African-American, and other minority ethnicities make up less than twelve percent. 

This bill is supported by several education and technology groups, the California Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley advocacy group, TechNet.