Sen. Raatz has introduced SB 172 mandating that high schools include computer science in their curriculum and creating a state computer science grant program and associated fund. I’m generally against state mandates for local school curriculum. But, if the state is going to impose requirements, computer science sounds like a good one.
The grant program would provide for the State to give money to universities and other institutions capable of training teachers to teach computer science. A grant fund is created but, at least in this bill, no money is placed in that fund. I don’t know if that would be in separate legislation or wait until the budget bill.
Current law states that sciences are a required part of any school corporation’s curriculum. The bill amends that provision to say that “sciences” includes (after June 30, 2021) “computer science.” It also states that:
(a) After June 30, 2021, each public school, including a charter school, shall offer at least one (1) computer science course as a one (1) semester elective in the public school’s curriculum at least once each school year for high school students. (b) After June 30, 2021, each charter school shall include computer science in the charter school’s science curriculum for students in kindergarten through grade 12.
The fiscal note suggests that this curriculum requirement could be satisfied by routing students to the Indiana Online Academy at a cost of $295 per student which the schools could either pay themselves or require students to pay. If the school has to hire teachers, the fiscal note estimates the cost of hiring each teacher as about $59,000.