Governor Deal’s administration has been characterized by loud rhetorical duels and quiet policy tweaks. In that admirable tradition, the Technology Association of Georgia has joined the governor in backing curriculum reform (no, not that) that will allow students to substitute programming courses for other core requirements like math, science or foreign language. From TAG:
The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the state’s leading association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, today joined Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and other leaders in recommending that the State Board of Education amend state policy to allow computer programming courses to satisfy core requirements — math, science or foreign language — for receiving a high school diploma. Deal is asking the Board of Regents of the University System to follow suit by accepting these courses for admission into institutions of higher education.
“Students need to acquire the 21st century skills necessary to thrive in the modern workforce,” Deal said. “Computing is currently one of the fastest growing occupations in the country with average salaries nearly twice the national rate. In fact, more than half of the projected job growth in the STEM fields will be in computing occupations. We must begin training our young people in these areas prior to their post-secondary education so they are prepared to fill these high-wages, in-demand positions.”
Currently, Georgia allows Advanced Placement Computer Science to satisfy the fourth and final science credit in high school. Only 18 percent of Georgia high schools offer this class and less than one percent of students took the course in 2013. Other coding courses can count only as elective credit and access to these courses is limited.
“As the state’s leading voice dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, the Technology Association of Georgia recognizes that we all have to do more to meet the future demand for a tech-ready workforce,” said TAG President and CEO Tino Mantella. “It’s imperative that we prepare Georgia’s kids today for the jobs of tomorrow. To that end, TAG supports this initiative to strengthen coding and programming for Georgia students.”
In July 2014, employers posted 3,060 openings for IT professionals looking for work in the state of Georgia. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, STEM occupations will increase in Georgia by more than 22,000 during the current decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that in the year 2020, 50% of the 9.2 million jobs in the STEM fields will be in computing and information technology.
“We are excited that the initiatives that Governor Deal announced today reinforce our long-standing belief that exposing students to computer science will better prepare them for the future, no matter their career interest,” said Michael Robertson, Executive Director of the TAG Education Collaborative. “Today’s announcement will pay dividends for years to come in developing a workforce for the 21st Century.”
About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)
The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 23,000 members and hosting over 200 events each year. TAG serves as an umbrella organization for 34 industry societies, each of which provides rich content for TAG constituents. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, influence and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy. The association provides members with access to networking and educational programs; recognizes and promotes Georgia’s technology leaders and companies; and advocates for legislative action that enhances the state’s economic climate for technology.
Additionally, the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG’s charitable arm) focuses on helping science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives thrive. For more information visit the TAG website at www.tagonline.org or TAG’s community website at www.TAGthink.com. To learn about the TAG-Ed Collaborative visit http://www.tagedonline.org/.
Most Georgia students currently take something that bills itself as computer science, but that usually works out to Excel 101. If nothing else, the governor’s initiative should breed a generation of interns with no problems navigating the bowels of WordPress. And perhaps, it will be another step toward educating a workforce for the jobs employers currently need skilled workers but are having difficulty finding those workers locally.