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Monday, January 13, 2014

Hutchinson proposes mandatory computer science curriculum

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson today proposed making computer science a part of the core curriculum of all Arkansas high schools and work for a law to make it a course that qualifies for a graduation credit. It would include instruction of coding and programming.

Here's his news release and detailed proposal.

He said only 1 in 10 Arkansas high schools offer such instruction currently.

Financial details are hazy. He said the course, where taught already, could be good for graduation credit at no cost with a policy change. He estimated it would cost less than $3,000 per teacher to adequately train someone to teach the course. That strikes me as a modest maount unless a teacher already had a great deal of the knowhow. He doesn't explain how the new courses could be added at no cost in teacher pay. He suggests private funds could pay for the training.

He said producing more people with computer skills would be an economic boon to the state.

Republican opponent Curtis Coleman said Hutchinson's ideas were "inadequate and out of touch." He said a higher priority should be returning local control to schools and that Hutchinson's idea was just a new state mandate.

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