Indiana is home to colleges and universities with some of the best engineering, technology and computer science programs in the country. Indiana is also rapidly attracting technology companies, creating a number of jobs for Hoosiers entering the workforce. Given these developments, it is important for students who are interested in pursuing jobs or degrees in these fields to have a general concept of computer science before graduating high school.
Just five years ago, fewer than 25% of Indiana’s high schools offered a single computer science course. That is why, in 2018, I authored Senate Enrolled Act 172. This law requires each high school in Indiana to offer at least one computer science class to students by the 2021-22 school year.
SEA 172 also established Indiana’s Next Level Computer Science Grant Program and the Next Level Computer Science Fund, which awards grants to help implement professional development programs for training teachers in computer science.
It has been a priority of mine to help prepare our young people for the next generation of jobs. That is why I am excited to see an Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) report showing that 74% of Hoosier high schools in the 2020-21 school year offered a computer science course. In total, 19,377 high school students across Indiana earned computer science course completions. According to Code.org, that is No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 11 in the country. In comparison, 51% of high schools in the United States offer at least one foundational computer science course.
Seeing the benefits of this legislation is truly satisfying, and I am thankful our schools are able to offer these courses to Hoosier students. With the appropriate education to take on the future of our workforce, I believe Indiana can become the national leader for computer science and technology.