Bill # and Title: SB 172 – Computer Science Curriculum
Author: Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)
Summary: Establishes the Next Level Computer Science Grant Program and the Next Level Computer Science Fund to award grants, after June 30, 2019, to eligible entities to implement teacher professional development programs for training in teaching computer science. Requires the Department of Education to: (1) administer the program and fund; and (2) develop guidelines to award grants from the fund to eligible entities. Requires (beginning July 1, 2021) each public school, including a charter school, to offer a computer science course as a one semester elective course in its curriculum at least once each school year to high school students. Requires (beginning July 1, 2021) each public school, including a charter school, to include computer science in the public school’s curriculum for students in kindergarten through grade 12.
Chamber Position: Support
Status: The full Senate approved this measure by a vote of 48-1; now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration and debate.

Update/Chamber Action: Senate Bill 172 aligns with an Indiana Chamber top priority to have all K-12 schools offer computer science courses. We are hearing from an increasing number of employers that they need more employees with experience in STEM or computer science. These courses provide not only incredible knowledge in high-demand, high-wage fields, but also provide critical thinking and soft skills that are so important to employers.

With the growing number of tech companies moving to Indiana, as well as the notion that almost every company these days is a tech company of some sort, it is more important than ever that Hoosier students have the availability of computer science courses in all K-12 schools across Indiana. (Ultimately, the Chamber would like to see computer science as a graduation requirement.)

In addition, we testified in support of the teacher professional development fund to be created. All are in step with our Indiana Vision 2025 goals to help skill up the state’s future workforce.

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: [email protected]