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How a State Plans to Turn Coal Country Into Coding Country


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student works on block coding exercise

Student working on a block coding exercise during class at Sagebrush Elementary School in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Credit: Kristina Barker / The New York Times

Dozens of states have taken steps in recent years to expand students' access to computer science, but last year, Wyoming became one of the few to require that all K-12 public schools offer it. Both major political parties have embraced the effort, as have tech companies eager to promote a national vision of rural economic revival built on coding skills.

There is little evidence that public school computer science lessons can drive economic change. But those who see them as fundamental to understanding today's world say the grand promises from politicians do not matter.

Full of coal mines, vast cattle ranches and snow-capped peaks, Wyoming is perhaps an unlikely leader in a drive to bring coding into the classroom.

The education mandate will not be easy to pull off. The Wyoming Legislature did not dedicate new dollars to the plan, so schools are relying on federal funds and philanthropy.

From The New York Times
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