The Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill requiring the high schools in his state to offer computer science. Arkansas isn’t thought of as a hotbed of technology an innovation but they want that to change and they are giving it more than lip service.
Students are not required to take computer science but they must have the opportunity. “This is an opportunity for students to learn what coding means and to bring it into the modern workforce,” said J.R. Davis, Hutchinson’s spokesman. To ensure that the new law has the desired effect, there will be a “working task force that continues to look at computer science and coding in Arkansas.”
Arkansas plans to support schools who don’t have a teacher who can teach the computer science classes by using Virtual Arkansas who will over online classes. The plan they are putting in place seems comprehensive. They are serious about building technology fundamentals in their education system.
You can read more about this effort in this Wired article.
In Arkansas as in the UK, when the requirements shifted towards teaching students computer science and coding relatively few teachers are ready to jump into the new programs. This is to be expected and will take time to equalize. This is a great opportunity for teachers who anticipate this sea change and add to their skill set ahead of the curve.