State Council views IT as an alternative to graduation requirements
TOPEKA (KSNT) – Computer science is not listed as an option to meet a basic Kansas graduation requirement. The State Board of Education is considering changing that.
The state requires 21 specific courses: four English courses, three history, three science, three math, one physical education, one fine arts, and six electives. Computer science can only be counted as an optional course.
Local districts may define additional requirements.
The new recommendations presented to council on Tuesday would allow districts to allow specific computer courses to count as a science or math requirement.
Computer advocates are pushing leaders to embrace educational technology.
“The world is changing and we need to prepare students not only for the world we live in today, but for the future,” said Ryan Weber, CEO of the KC Tech Council.
“Right now the most in-demand jobs in the Kansas City area will be computer software development and cybersecurity jobs are the most in-demand and the highest-paying jobs,” he said.
Many schools offer some type of computer course. Topeka Public Schools updated the curriculum to offer more courses for students.
“I think all students should be interested and should experience it,” said Gail Ramirez, Curriculum Technology Specialist for Topeka Public Schools.
“I think computer science takes some of the best parts of math and science because it does more than just one, and it’s very applicable on why you need to learn things.”
Ramirez said learning computers can help students who might have trouble understanding things in other areas.
“Kids who maybe have trouble with math, once they get into coding, robotics, and programming, they learn there’s a real reason to know,” he said. she declared.
But there are people who hesitate when it comes to the proposal because the students would lose a year of a vital subject.
“As a former science teacher, I don’t think computer science is math or science, but it is absolutely necessary and we have to find a place in our high schools for it,” said Ann Mah, member of the board of directors.
The state board of education plans to vote on the proposal next month.