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Hofmeister calls for greater student access to high-quality computer science


OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 12, 2019) – While a new national report acknowledges Oklahoma has made progress in computer science coursework, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister noted the study also reveals that the state must do more or risk losing ground to other states.

According to the 2019 State of Computer Science Education report, released this week by the Code.org Advocacy Coalition, 45 percent of high schools nationwide teach computer science, while only 29 percent of Oklahoma high schools offer at least one computer science course.

“We have laid a strong foundation with rigorous academic standards that promote opportunities for students to learn to apply computer science concepts across the curriculum,” Hofmeister said. “We must build on that momentum. Oklahoma needs to strengthen access to technology and professional development opportunities if we are to ensure that all students are exposed early to the job skills demanded of a 21st-century workforce.”

The report commended the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) on the addition of a state-level director to oversee education technology and computer science. Oklahoma now meets four of the nine computer science education recommendations by the coalition.

Moreover, in 2018 Oklahoma became only the third state in the nation to adopt computer science academic standards specific to each grade, beginning in pre-kindergarten.

Hofmeister said it will not be possible for Oklahoma to maintain an advantage without dedicated funding.
“In Oklahoma, only 52 percent of our schools meet minimum technology standards, including a strong broadband connection. The lack of access is most pronounced in rural areas of our state, meaning many of our students will struggle to compete in the job market after they graduate from high school,” she said. “Other states are dedicating funding to computer science education. Without an investment in Oklahoma soon, we will fall further behind and have a harder time catching up. It is our students – and ultimately our workforce – who will suffer.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer and information technology occupations to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, significantly faster than the average for all occupations. In 2018, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $86,320.

Nationally, the report also showed an increase in the representation of female students taking Advanced Placement (AP) computer science exams. To view a copy of the report, visit https://advocacy.code.org/

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Last updated on September 12, 2019