On May 23, the Ohio Chamber testified in the House Education and Career Readiness Committee in support of legislation aimed at providing a new course option for Ohio’s primary and secondary school students. House Bill 170 directs the Ohio Department of Education to create “computer science” academic content standards for grades kindergarten through twelve. Though the bill requires computer science standards be written for grades K-12, the focus of this legislation is on grades 9-12. The reason being, the bill permits high school students to take a computer science course in lieu of certain math or science classes and electives. Most notably a computer science course could be taken in place of Algebra II which is a challenging course for many high school students and is not even tested on as a high school graduation requirement.
The basis for the Ohio Chamber’s support is simple, we feel that in general, competency in computer science better prepares students for the workforce or their next step in education. We also believe that exposure to computer science could uncover a young person’s desire to seek a career in the field of computing. Read the full testimony here.
Adoption of the computer science academic standards contained within HB 170 is entirely permissive for each local school district. Furthermore, if a school district adopts the standards, the parents and student ultimately decide whether to take advantage of the new course option. Preserving local control has been a priority of this legislature so the fact that HB 170 accomplishes that is critically important.
After three hearings, the committee has yet to receive testimony from any opponents.