Computer Science Education for K-12 Students is Game Changing

A guest post by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead

A game changer is a significant, newly introduced factor that changes outcomes for the better.

The Governor signing the computer science education bill into law

The computer science education bill (SEA 48), which I signed into law on March 14, 2018, is a game changer. The law adds computer science to the common core of knowledge for Wyoming students in grades K-12 and requires computer science standards to be developed and ready for use in the 2022–23 school year. Incorporating computer science into the educational basket of goods means Wyoming kids will be taught key computer science skills in all grades.

The legislation was made possible through the hard work of many, including the Wyoming Legislature, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, the Wyoming Department of Education, the ENDOW Executive Council, and private sector partners like Microsoft, Apple and the Wyoming Business Alliance. It recognizes the importance of computer science education for every child and, in doing so, puts Wyoming in the forefront nationally.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once said, “Computer science is the operating system for all innovation.” He was right, and that’s what makes computer science education so important for Wyoming. Our economy, to become more diversified, requires innovation. And innovation comes from individuals who have the knowledge and skills needed to be able to expand boundaries — to reach beyond today’s technology for tomorrow’s breakthroughs.

Boot Up Wyoming Logo

We know right now that computer science skills command a premium in the job market and are required to fill over half of the fastest growing jobs in the United States. By providing education critical to computer proficiency in K-12 classrooms, we will be preparing our children not for one job alone but for hundreds of career opportunities. We will be giving our children the knowledge and skills they need for the 21st century and beyond. And with the recent launch of Boot Up Wyoming — an initiative to create standards, develop curriculum and train teachers — all 48 Wyoming school districts will be ready to put this into action.

Computer science is powerful in large part because it is broadly applicable — like reading, writing and arithmetic. Its uses span all industries and activities of daily living and are geographically limitless.

Whether you want to work on launching manned rocket missions to Mars, charting the migration patterns of bighorn sheep, developing new medical treatments for heart disease, retailing in unique ways from rural locations, or engaging in countless other personal or business endeavors, a firm understanding of computer science will make pursuing such passions possible.

By fostering development of computer literacy and skills, we set the stage for a golden era of innovation. We prepare a workforce ready to excel using exciting digital platforms. We build competencies to power a diverse economy — one where well-paying jobs in many satisfying careers keep more Wyoming students in-state after they complete their education and bring in people from elsewhere too.

In sum, our school kids need a computer science education, and in Wyoming they will now get it. What a game changer! My thanks to all those in the public and private sectors who have brought computer science education to every public school classroom in our state.

Governor Matt Mead

Matt Mead, Wyoming’s 32nd Governor, took office in January 2011 and is serving his second term. He was born and raised in Jackson. After earning a law degree from the University of Wyoming, he served as a prosecutor, practiced in a private firm and served as U.S. Attorney. He maintains a farm and ranch business with his wife Carol in southeast Wyoming.

Governor Mead initiated a comprehensive state energy strategy released in 2013 and updated in 2016. He initiated an innovative state water strategy released in 2015. He moved the entire state to a 100 gigabit broadband network. His rules initiative has resulted in fewer regulations and improved public access to rules. His focus on increasing state competitiveness, for example, through technology, innovation and expansion of business opportunities in numerous economic sectors, has brought national recognition.

Governor Mead is currently Chair, and has also served as Vice Chair, of the Natural Resources Committee of the National Governors Association. He serves as Co-chair of the State and Federal Sage Grouse Task Force. He is past Chairman (2015–2016) of the Western Governors’ Association where his Chairman’s Initiative, a continuing one, was Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act.

You can reach the Governor on Instagram.