Legislators discuss importance of computer science in high school

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High school students could soon have another option to choose from when picking their math or science class.

Making computer science more prevalent in the classroom, that was the idea behind a bill introduced Wednesday.

House Education Committee members discussed the bill as a new way to better prepare students for a 21st century economy.

“To allow it to count as a science credit is a win-win for them to pursue a class they need without messing up the rest of their schedules, as they find the credits they need to graduate,” said House Education Committee Chair Steve Huebert.

The plan would let the course count for math as well.

Representative Huebert said he was approached by Cerner as well as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce to make the change.

“If you’re not at least, I would say technically literate, you’re probably going to miss a lot of opportunities even if you’re not pursuing computer science,” said Cerner Corporation manager Anna Hennes. 

She said teaching students more about technology would benefit all companies.

“Every industry, every business relies on systems and solutions, and apps and functions that are built through technical work to deliver on their mission,” said Hennes.

Cherry Steffen is the Chair of the Department of Education at Washburn. She said the K-12 education curriculum is constantly evolving, and that technology has become a big focus.

“The goal is that every student has access to technology, knows about technology,” said Steffen. “The goal of education is to prepare a student for further education, for the work world, careers.”

If the bill passes, students could start using the program in the next two years.

Representative Huebert said even if this bill doesn’t get passed, it’s important to discuss what’s best for students and send recommendations to the state board of education.

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