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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More teens need computer science, magazine says

Too few U.S. high schools offer Advance Placement Computer Science courses. That's the point of an article in the current U.S. News & World Report. It goes on to state that where computer science is offered, often the course does not count toward a student's graduation requirements.

Meanwhile, the need for STEM education in this country is great.

According the magazine, only nine states allow computer science to satisfy mathematics or science graduation obligations, :
  • Georgia
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
Actually, we're not sure that Arkansas doesn't fit somewhere on this list. While we haven't heard back from the Arkansas Department of Education, some poking around on the site found a 2004 document outlining the framework for a Computer Math class. It's designed as an option for the fourth year of math, so to follow Algebra II.  It's even listed by name as an option on the 2014 Smart Core requirements.

And while that course is not the AP Computer Science course mentioned above, there are codes for "ADE approved courses," so if a district wanted to offer AP Computer Science, that would probably count as well. (Let us know if there are any of you out there with that option in your high school.)

Still, the point of the article is well-taken. Interest in STEM fields need to be stimulated during high school (as 15 Arkansas school districts are doing with recenly awarded Project Lead the Way and New Tech grants). Here's why:

Just next year an estimated 120,000 new jobs will require a bachelor's degree in computer science. Right now, nearly 3.7 million jobs in STEM fields are sitting empty. 

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