The sole focus on reading, writing and arithmetic is leaving our Georgia high school graduates dazed, confused, and unprepared for an increasingly tech-savvy workforce. Should we make computer programming a core requirement? It’d be a lot cooler if we did.
Governor Nathan Deal is recommending that the GA Board of Education allow computer programming courses to satisfy core requirements (which currently include math, science or foreign language) for receiving a diploma. Deal is also asking the Board of Regents of the University System to accept the classes as credit for admission into college.
A bit of background:
- Georgia currently allows Advanced Placement Computer Science to satisfy the fourth science credit in high school. A mere 18 percent of our high schools offer this class and less than one percent of students actually took the course last year.
- In July 2014, employers posted 3,060 openings for IT professionals in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Labor forecasts that STEM occupations will increase in Georgia by more than 22,000 during the current decade. By 2020, 50% of the 9.2 million jobs in the STEM fields will be in computing and info technology.
Some choice quotes:
- “Computing is currently one of the fastest growing occupations in the country with average salaries nearly twice the national rate. In fact, more than half of the projected job growth in the STEM fields will be in computing occupations. We must begin training our young people in these areas prior to their post-secondary education so they are prepared to fill these high-wages, in-demand positions.” – Gov. Deal
- “This change will support our STEM efforts — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is a recognition of the evolving dynamics of our increasingly technologically dependent world.” – University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby
- “As Georgia’s workforce and education leaders have traveled the state meeting with businesses, they have heard repeatedly that there is a need for skilled computer programmers and software developers in the state. Our goal with the High Demand Career Initiative is to support Georgia companies with their workforce needs and provide our students with the resources and programs to secure job opportunities in Georgia.” – Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr.
- “I am working to keep Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation for business and we must have a strong education system that responds to the needs of companies across our state in order to do so. Computer science should no longer be just a high school elective. With the help of strong partners like Georgia Tech, we can develop these valuable courses and better prepare our students for college and the workforce.” – Gov. Deal