Heffernan ‘Computer Science for All Act’ Would Ensure Computer Science Courses in All Public, Charter High Schools

DOVER – Acknowledging that computer science skills are a valuable asset in a 21st century job market, Rep. Debra Heffernan has crafted legislation that would require all public and charter high schools to offer at least one computer science course.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 37.5-percent growth from 2012 to 2022 in the computer systems design and related services industry, from 1.6 million jobs in 2012 to an estimated 2.2 million jobs in 2022.

Under House Bill 15, high schools would be required to offer one computer science course by the 2020-21 school year. The computer science class could be used toward a mathematics graduation credit, with the exception of algebra I and II or geometry.

“We are seeing more and more that computer skills are invaluable in today’s job market, and that demand is only going to grow in the future,” said Rep. Heffernan, D-Brandywine Hundred South. “While we don’t want to place a bigger burden on our students and teachers to fit another requirement into the curriculum, we want to ensure that any high school student who wants to become more proficient at computer science has that opportunity.

“By requiring public and charter high schools to offer computer science classes and having them fulfill graduation requirements in math, we will hopefully see more students taking advantage of these courses and being better prepared for jobs and projects that involve using computers.”

According to the Education Commission of the States, 20 states currently require that students be allowed to apply specified computer science courses toward completion of mathematics, science or language other than English graduation requirements for a standard diploma.

The Computer Science for All Act would require Delaware diploma requirements to allow a computer science course to satisfy a mathematics graduation credit requirement beginning with the 2018-19 school year. The Department of Education would develop standards and content requirements.

HB 15 will be formally introduced in a House pre-file on December 15. The General Assembly reconvenes on January 10, 2017.