What did your daily schedule look like back in high school? I bet it included classes like math, English, history and government. While all those classes are still required for kids today, there are also some major changes in the works. Namely, states across the country are now offering computer science classes as a required subject to help prepare students for jobs of the future.
Right now, 25 states and Washington, D.C., have rules that allow students to take computer science classes to satisfy graduation requirements. That's a big step up from just nine states in 2013. Historically, students at schools that offer computer science can only take it as an elective. I, for one, am glad to see this new development, because it makes it easier to take the courses and means more of our kids are being prepared for the technology jobs of the future.
Data compiled by Code.org show that at current rates, the country will have 1 million more computer science jobs than students with computer science degrees by 2020. Jobs in computer science on average are growing at two times the national average.
While the trend is encouraging, there is still work to be done if we hope to give all students access to computer science education.
There are plenty of states and school districts making strides to improving computer science education. Since the beginning of the year, Idaho, Kentucky, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, California and New York have all instituted policies that allow students to take computer science courses to satisfy graduation requirements.
Public schools in Chicago are developing a computer science curriculum for all students from kindergarten to 12th grade. In Indiana, Purdue University is offering a non-graded, non-credit computer science course for all Indiana high school students absolutely free.
But, there are still a lot of schools that don't offer these courses. Even in states where kids are allowed to take computer science to fulfill a graduation requirement, not all schools offer the courses. That's because preparing for the courses can be expensive for schools and tough for teachers.
But increasing access to computer science courses in high school is difficult, because teachers often feel they don't have the resources or training to teach the courses, says Deborah Seehorn, chair of the Computer Science Teachers Association board.
Still, the fact that more and more schools are making it easier to take these classes is an encouraging sign. If your child's school doesn't offer computer science, there are plenty of free resources online. Click here to visit a website that'll teach your high schooler how to code.