News Releases

Sen. Murray, who led efforts to rewrite our nation’s K-12 education law last year, included increased support for computer science educators and programs 

TEALS, which puts tech employees in classrooms to teach computer science, is now in over 225 high schools across the country

Senator Murray with Chief Sealth students and Principal Aida Fraser-Hammer this morning.

(Seattle, WA) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) visited Chief Sealth International High School to hear from teachers, volunteers, and students about the Technology Education and Literacy in School (TEALS) program, in which employees from Microsoft and other tech companies help provide high-quality computer science education for students in Washington state. Senator Murray also discussed her work in the Senate to increase access to STEM education, including in her rewrite of the K-12 education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“We are all here today because we understand that sparking a passion for STEM, and computer science specifically, can change a student’s life. And it’s not just students that benefit—it’s critical to helping strengthen our economy, state, and country,” said Senator Murray.  “It’s one of the many reasons I worked to fix the broken No Child Left Behind law—so that we increased support for computer science educators and programs, like TEALS. I strongly believe that every student—regardless of their future careers—will benefit from stronger STEM education.”

“It’s an honor to have Senator Murray, a champion of computer science education, visit a school where our employees, and those from other companies, are helping bring computer science education to students across Washington state and the country,” said Mary Snapp, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and leader of Microsoft Philanthropies. “TEALS is a great example of a public-private partnership in which we are working together to inspire students to study computer science in order to have the skills needed to fill the jobs driving the global economy.”

“President Obama believes that every child should have the opportunity to learn computer‎ science, and that achieving this goal will require leadership at the federal, state and local level,” said Ruthe Farmer, Senior Advisor for Tech Inclusion at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “It is great to see leaders like Senator Murray championing the need for equipping our students with these essential skills, and we look forward to working with Congress on this important issue."

Background on TEALS:

The Technology Education and Literacy in School (TEALS) Program was started in 2009 by a Microsoft employee and former high school computer science teacher who saw the value in pairing volunteers from across the technology industry with teachers of all backgrounds to help teach computer science. Now in over 225 high schools across the country, the initiative anticipates reaching 9,000 students this year, with the help of 940 volunteer teachers from over 300 tech companies.

TEALS partners with 71 schools and 260 volunteers in Washington state, including volunteers from Amazon, Microsoft, Tableau, and Zillow, each contributing about 250 hours a year. In addition to providing volunteers, Microsoft pays the school or PTA $25 per volunteer hour through its employee giving program.

Background on Senator Murray’s work on STEM in Congress:

When Senator Murray rewrote the broken No Child Left Behind K-12 education law last year, she worked to ensure that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) included increased support for computer science (CS) educators and programs. One of the biggest wins in ESSA for the CS community was inclusion of computer science in the definition of “well-rounded education,” which will ensure that CS programs, curriculum and professional development are prioritized with English, math and other core subjects. ESSA also includes support for professional development for CS educators, and authorizes an optional reservation to conduct a national STEM Master Teacher Corps program. Lastly, ESSA authorized an over $1.6 billion Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant (SSAEG) program that would provide flexible grant funding to states and districts to support CS education.