8/5/18 - Norcross - Beckie Mae, a teacher at Paul Duke STEM High School, helps her students login to their computers in an AP computer science class during their first day at school on Monday, August 6. Jenna Eason / Jenna.Eason@coxinc.com
Photo: Jenna Eason/Jenna.Eason@coxinc.com
Photo: Jenna Eason/Jenna.Eason@coxinc.com

High school computer science mandate passed by Georgia Legislature

Computer science courses will be required in every Georgia high school, if new legislation is signed into law.

Senate Bill 108 requires a course in at least one high school in every school district by the fall of 2022 and in half the high schools per district the next year. The course would have to be available in every public high school by the 2024-25 school year.

Live: Use AJC tracker to follow Georgia bills

Chief sponsor Sen. P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, chairman of the Senate Education and Youth Committee, said widespread availability of computer courses could grow the supply of skilled workers in a high-demand field, creating opportunities for young adults. Less than half a percent of high school graduates have taken computer science, his bill says, yet there are “thousands” of unfilled jobs. And the logic learned in computer science can be generally applied.

"This can change the trajectory of people's lives," he said. 

The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent Friday after the House of Representatives amended it by delaying implementation for a year.

It is a priority for Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan as well as for technology education groups, the College Board and chambers of commerce.

In addition to high schools, which could fulfill the requirement with online courses, it would require “exploratory” computer science courses in middle schools. It also provides for teacher training grants.

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