Computer coding will no longer be considered for foreign language credit, but Senate bill hopes to make it part of science curriculum

02/12/2015 03:40 PM

FRANKFORT — A bill granting foreign language credits for students in computer coding classes has been amended by the Senate Education Committee Thursday after its sponsor fielded numerous concerns from teachers.

Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, now calls for the Kentucky Department of Education to make students in computer coding courses eligible for science credits. The education committee unanimously moved the bill to the Senate floor.

“In that core curriculum of 15 credits, computer programming counts as a math credit,” Givens, R-Greensburg, said. “I’m charging KDE to find a way to facilitate, as other states are doing, that coding counts in the core for science as well.”

The change comes as educators in both the foreign languages and computer sciences voiced their misgivings with the original version of SB 16, Givens said, noting he rethought the approach after receiving an email from an Allen County computer programming teacher.

SB 16, as amended, would mandate additional resources toward professional development for computer science teachers, beefing up network capacities and protections at public schools, allowing schools to hire part-time adjunct teachers for computer classes, and making computer sciences a key part of the state’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program.

The bill is aimed to boost interest in the increasingly important field, lawmakers said.

“As someone who also worked for the (Federal Bureau of Investigation), I will tell you cyber terrorism and cyber security is a huge concern in today’s workforce, and right today the FBI, the new class of agents they’re bringing in are only those who have a background in cyber engineering, cyber security and as well as what you’re doing here in computer programming,” said Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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