COLUMBUS-State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) have introduced legislation that works to define computer science standards in Ohio’s school systems, which would help students to be better prepared for the challenges in today’s science and technology fields.
As highlighted in a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse, House Bill 170 mainly aims to define computer science in the Ohio Revised Code and ensures that it is part of Ohio’s K-12 education curriculum. Sponsors of the bill worked with various organizations in crafting the language, including Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, Apple, Microsoft, Project Lead The Way, UTeach CS (at University of Texas-Austin), and College Board.
In Ohio, research for the bill included discussions with Cleveland State University’s Computer Science Department and their efforts with the Cleveland Municipal School District’s current pilot program, TEALS through Microsoft.
“This bill accomplishes several things,” Carfagna said. “It allows students and school districts the flexibility of having computer science courses count towards mathematics or science graduation requirements, and for schools or districts that are under-resourced and looking to implement these course offerings we’re establishing a need-based grant program to help them purchase the necessary technology resources.”
Beyond defining computer science, the bill also requires the State Board of Education to adopt K-12 standards for computer science by July 1, 2018, while also developing credit flexibility in coordination with math and science courses. For teachers, the bill will provide more professional development opportunities related to computer science during the calendar year.
“Increasingly, automation is eliminating jobs in Ohio’s most historically reliant industries such as automotive manufacturing,” said Rep. Duffey. “As a result, we need to encourage students to pursue career paths that are more likely to exist and provide a living wage well into the future. Computer Science is a broad field, but it is underrepresented in Ohio, in part because we have mandates for graduation requirements such as Algebra 2. What we are doing now is providing flexibility to Ohio students and school districts to increase their offering of Computer Science and in doing so, better preparing Ohio’s workforce for the jobs that realistically will exist. By building a culture much more supportive of Computer Science, Ohio will also increase the likelihood that we will attract some of the fastest growing companies in the world or create one ourselves as an Ohio startup.”