Bill to enhance computer programming courses in public schools clears House committee

03/09/2015 05:00 PM

FRANKFORT — A bill which would enhance computer programming courses in Kentucky public high schools has been passed unanimously by the House Committee on Education.

Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, would provide support for better-certified and higher-quality teachers for computer programming.

Givens originally sought to have students earn a foreign language credit for courses taken on computer programming at the beginning of the session, but amended the bill before a Senate committee after push back from teachers.

“A lot of challenges that they face is related to supports for programming, like teacher credentialing, resources to put together computer labs, those sorts of things,” Givens said. “I’ve dropped back from counting coding as a foreign language credit and sought to put those supports in place first for computer science.”

Givens main reason for the legislation is to get students to think about careers in computer programming which are projected to be in great demand in the years ahead.

“The challenge is getting the base of that interest early in a student’s learning career and also getting the early foundation so they can take advanced classes and leap frog them right on into college and and/or certification,” Givens said.

Givens admits that he took some criticism from foreign language advocates
who were not happy with his original proposal which would have allowed computer programming to be used as a foreign language credit.

“The focus was not to diminish foreign languages, but, realizing that we had a constraint amount of time, it was a challenge to find a way to get it in early in the students learning,” Givens said. “Thankfully, I think we’ve found a path forward that meets the needs of everyone.”


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