Missouri students will soon have additional course options in the field of computer science, as academic performance standards were approved by the State Board of Education during Tuesday’s meeting.
Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, Missouri high school students will have the option – pending district approval – to substitute a computer science credit in place of a mathematics, science or practical arts credit towards graduation. Guidelines regarding the implementation of the law and information relating to professional development and training for educators are forthcoming. The preliminary Missouri budget submitted last week included $450,000 appropriated for professional development of high school teachers.
“There are thousands of computer science jobs in Missouri right now that are unfilled,” said Blaine Henningsen, assistant commissioner of the Office of College and Career Readiness. “By providing a greater emphasis on computer science, we hope to encourage Missouri students to consider these opportunities.”
House Bill 3, which created the “STEM Career Awareness Program,” was passed by the Missouri General Assembly during a special session in September 2018 and was signed into law by Governor Michael Parson on October 30, 2018. At that time, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education convened multiple work groups to develop and recommend rigorous K-12 academic performance standards for computer science. The work groups began meeting immediately and were comprised of Missouri educators, officials from various state agencies, and experts from multiple areas of the computer science field. Their first set of standards went before the State Board of Education in February 2019.