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Governor: Teachers, Not Online Course, The Key to Computer Science Growth

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson with computer science students

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson sits with computer science students as part of a "Coding Tour" in April 2018.

Having a teacher in the classroom rather than offering an online course is one of the keys to increasing student interest in computer science classes, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday (June 10) during an event that celebrated Arkansas' leadership in the area.

Hutchinson made requiring high schools to teach computer science one of his main campaign issues during his 2014 election race. He successfully passed the mandate through the Legislature during the 2015 session. The law requires schools to offer computer science as a math or science credit.

Since the law was passed, the number of high school students taking a computer science course has increased from fewer than 1,100 to 8,000 students last year. More than 2,400 are females. The number of teachers has grown from fewer than 20 to more than 370. While only 35% of schools in the United States teach computer science, 63% of Arkansas schools have a student taking the class.

Still, despite all the successes, 37% of Arkansas high schools don't offer the course because no students are interested.

"It's students who don't believe they can," Hutchinson said. "It's superintendents who are not believing in the importance of computer science education. Therefore, while it is offered in that school pursuant to our mandate, it is being offered by online courses, and that's not inspiring students."

From Talk Business & Politics
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