State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) today announced that the Ohio House concurred with Senate amendments to legislation that will expand computer science opportunities to K-12 and allow Ohio high school students to choose computer science instead of classes like geology and Algebra II as graduation requirements. House Bill 170 is supported by some of the biggest tech companies and national computer science organizations, such as Google and Code.org.
The bill will put Ohio ahead of many other states in promoting computer science education as one option for high school graduation. The legislation leaves the ultimate decision up to locally elected school boards, who may choose to still require Algebra II or any other class for graduation.
House Bill 170 will require the State Board of Education to adopt academic content standards and model curriculum for computer science. Schools will not be mandated to adopt the standards or curriculum. Under the bill, students could elect to take a computer science course in lieu of Algebra II, physical science courses such as geology, and as an elective in high school. The Senate included an amendment requiring parents to sign a form acknowledging that should their student substitute this course, they may not be eligible to attend certain higher education institutions.
“I’m deeply grateful to both the Ohio Senate for their unanimous vote on Amended House Bill 170 and to my House colleagues for their concurrence today,” said Carfagna. “While other states and countries may have a head start towards offering more computer science courses to K-12 students, I’m proud to say that Ohio has made a bipartisan jump today towards preparing our children for the 21st century workforce. Today’s vote gives our districts the discretion and framework to offer more technology classes, while giving students the flexibility to count computer science classes towards their graduation requirements.”
The bill also provides opportunities for teachers who currently hold a valid teaching license or an endorsement in computer technology to teach computer science courses. In addition, schools will be able to create a “Technology and Computer Science” matching fund to attract private-sector donations that could be used for professional development or equipment.
“By allowing computer science classes to count toward graduation, we are providing increased freedom to Ohio students to pursue their own career path,” said Duffey. “This will also encourage Ohio schools to hire CS teachers, since they are also obviously driven in their hiring practices by state graduation requirements.”
House Bill 170, a part of the Ohio House Republican Caucus’ “Buckeye Pathway” agenda, now awaits the Governor’s consideration.