Missouri passes bill to expand computer science across the state

Last week, the Missouri legislature passed a bill that would expand access to computer science across the state.

This new legislation, sponsored by Senator Libla and Senator Rizzo, calls for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education to work together to develop standards for computer science education for students between kindergarten and 12th grade and develop academic requirements for computer science courses offered in 9th-12th grade. These standards will be in place for schools beginning in the 2019–2020 school year. Further, students will now be able to fulfill a core graduation requirement in mathematics, science, or practical arts with a computer science credit.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will also provide teachers an endorsement on their license signifying their knowledge and ability to teach computer science. And teachers will have the potential to further enhance their knowledge of computer science through a “Computer Science Fund” created through the legislation which would provide professional development programs.

Rep. Travis Fitzwater, a sponsor of the legislation in the House, said of this success, “I’m so proud to be a part of a team of legislators who prioritized giving kids a modern day opportunity to learn computer science skills. With our state’s new standards, we can help develop workforce skills that are sorely needed in our state at much earlier ages in our kids.”

The passage of this legislation is due to the hard work of numerous advocates, including the KC Tech Council, Launch Code, the MO Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Boeing, STEM Girl Inc, MO NEA, MO State Teachers Association, MO Association of School Administrators, MO School Board Association, and many other organizations and individuals.

Way to go, Missouri!