Iowa Adds Computer Science to K-12 Curriculum

A new law passed in Iowa requires the state's Department of Education to establish standards in computer science for K-12 and a credential for teachers who teach CS. The hope is that by July 2019, every high school will offer "at least one high-quality" CS course, that each middle school will deliver instruction in exploratory CS and that each elementary school will cover the basics of CS.

The classroom standards won't be mandated; participation is voluntary. But they will come with "incentives" to increase the number of CS offerings at all grade levels in the form of a "professional development incentive fund," from which districts and teachers can receive reimbursement. Governor Terry Branstad recommended $500,000 in his 2019 general fund budget for the PD fund, making the fund available beginning in July 2018.

In the meantime, a work group is expected to hammer out recommendations for the CS guidelines and potential policies by Nov. 1, 2017.

"Ensuring all Iowa students develop foundational skills in computer science will prepare them for a changing world and position them to take advantage of opportunities in a growing professional sector," said Ryan Wise, director of the Department of Ed in a prepared statement.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.