South Carolina high schools could require computer coding course for graduation

Want a high school diploma? You might need to learn a little bit of JavaScript. All South Carolina public schools could require computer-science training for graduation starting as soon as 2019. A bill advancing out of the state House of Representatives would create new standards for computer science education in grades 9-12, set up summer training for new teachers in the field and require that every high school in the state offer at least one computer science course. The state currently requires one credit of “computer science” for a high school diploma, but that credit can be for a keyboarding class — a far cry from the rigorous and standards-based courses that some state lawmakers say would give students a leg up as they enter an increasingly knowledge-based workforce. “At this rate, we’ll be ahead of the curve,” said Valerie Sessions, chair of the Computer Science Department at Charleston Southern University. She recently signed an open letter in support of the bill along with leaders from Boeing, Google and Bibliolabs. House Bill 3427, the SC Computer Science Education Initiative, passed in the House with a 106-1 vote Tuesday and advanced to the Senate. It includes $1.36 million in new expenditures over the next two years to develop grade-appropriate standards, hire a state computer science education coordinator, fund summer teacher training camps and provide other support. But the bill does not set aside recurring funds to support computer science education or provide school districts with more money to hire additional teachers. The hiring of computer science teachers could cost local school districts a combined $19.2 million in the 2019-20 school year alone, according to an estimate included with the bill. Quinn Burke, an assistant professor of education at the College of Charleston, helped write computer science standards for kindergarten through eighth grade. When it comes to the high school proposal, he’s concerned about the lack of recurring funds for teachers. “To be offering computer science education in South Carolina schools for 2019 but putting absolutely no money behind it — that’s a tremendous problem,” Burke said. “I have concerns that if it’s not properly funded and supported, by 2020 we’ll be scratching our heads saying, ‘This was a waste, it was ill-conceived.'” But if it works, Burke said, students will be prepared for all sorts of tech-centric careers. Some districts already teach block-based introductory coding languages in elementary school. By the time students leave high school, they could have the tools to learn new languages and thrive in whatever environment awaits them. The earlier the head start, the better. “Kids are a lot more willing to tinker at things for longer periods of time, whereas adults, their concentration level peters out,” Burke said. Read the original article here

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s