Indiana Mandates CS Ed in High School
- By Dian Schaffhauser
During the 2016-2017 school year, just 42 percent of Indiana's 525 high schools offered computer science courses. Beginning in July 2021, the state's public schools, including charters, will be required to offer a one-semester elective on computer science and include CS as part of the science curriculum in K-12. The state joins 29 others that have also passed policies to boost CS studies in schools.
To make sure educators are ready to teach CS, state lawmakers have also established a "Next Level Computer Science" fund to issue grants to help districts implement professional development programs. That's expected to be in place by June 30, 2019.
According to one of the bill's backers in the assembly, State Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville), the legislation is a workforce preparation move. "Advanced manufacturing and information technology are two high-demand industries ready to hire Hoosier workers, and experience in computer science is a skill becoming more valuable to employers statewide," she said in a prepared statement. " Expanding student access to computer science classes will help align the skills they gain at school with the needs of our Indiana employers."
Added State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond), offering the courses would "help to better prepare our students for today's job and college requirements." Not only would they give students a foundation in CS technology, but they'd "also help students develop logical and analytical thinking."
According to Code.org, which tracks CS educational efforts nationwide, the state currently has 4,667 open computing jobs with an average salary of $74,459.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.