TOPEKA (KSNT) – More computer science classes could be coming to school districts across Kansas.
House Education Chair Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, announced that he will introduce a bill that would offer up to $1 million to school districts that could help expand computer science programs across the state.
“This legislation will guide Kansas educators towards the short-term goal of providing computer science classes in every school district, and the long-term goal of requiring computer science courses for high school graduation.”Rep. Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center
Huebert explained that while 75% of urban school districts are offering computer science classes to students, rural areas are “trailing behind significantly.”
In school districts, like Topeka Public Schools, specialized computer science programs have helped improve digital literacy for hundreds of students.
Instructors like Meshach McKnight, who teaches at TCALC, the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers, said computer science courses provide much-needed skills for students, especially in a digital age.
“When we talk about computer science language, we’re talking about the ideas and solutions that cross intercultural, international barriers and boundaries,” McKnight said.
The Republican lawmaker’s proposed program would be used for school districts and Kansas colleges to train more people to teach classes.
Gail Ramirez, who helps train teachers to teach computer science courses at the Bishop Professional Development Center in Topeka, said the extra money could go a long way in kickstarting new programs and getting students prepared for the future.
“Work ethic, problem-solving critical thinking…these are all things employers are saying kids are not trained well enough in when they go into the job market. Money is always a big deal for bringing in more courses because you need to pay teachers, and you need to buy all the course materials to be successful.”