TOPEKA, (KSNT)— An education bill moving through the Kansas Legislature would require high schools in the state to offer computer science courses.
A substitute for House Bill 2466 would require public high schools in the state to offer at least one computer science course, or submit a plan to offer those courses to the State Board of Education.
If it passes, schools would need to start offering computer science courses by the 2023-2024 school year. This comes after a push to provide more computer science courses in the state.
Last year, the State Board adopted computer science as a core credit in Kansas high schools. Before that, Kansas was one of only two states in the country that didn’t provide that option. Leaders said it’s an area Kansas lags behind in.
“We are so far behind in meeting the needs of businesses, industry, and students when it comes to computer education,” State Board Chair Jim Porter said.
The bill, also known as the Promoting Advancement in Computing Knowledge Act (PACK Act), is aimed at providing more access to computer science courses. Lawmakers in the House Education panel recently amended the bill before passing it out of committee to address pushback from opponents of the plan. Under the current proposal, high schoolers will not be required to complete the course to graduate.
The bill would also allow grants to help schools put the courses in place. The money would be used for resources for the classes, credentialing and training teachers, and recruiting students.
Initially, the plan was expected to cost about $2 million, using money set aside in the State General Fund. However, lawmakers in the House are still deciding on a final figure. Right now, the bill is up for debate in the House. If it passes, it will move to the Senate for a final vote.
For more information on the bill, click here.