This yr for the primary time, enrollment in pc science programs topped 10,000, the sixth straight yr enrollment has elevated, and at the moment, I’d like to speak about what’s occurring and what’s down the highway.
To be actual, the variety of Arkansas highschool college students taking at the very least one pc science course is 10,450. That is a rise of 6 1/2 p.c during the last faculty yr and practically 850 p.c enhance over the 1,100 college students who have been enrolled six years in the past.
We confirmed enchancment in different areas as nicely. For the primary time in Arkansas, the proportion of African-American college students who’re taking a pc science class exceeds the proportion of all African-American college students enrolled in Arkansas excessive faculties. Additionally for the primary time, the proportion of all minority college students taking a highschool pc science course exceeds the proportion of all minority college students enrolled in our excessive faculties.
As well as, we proceed to point out great development within the variety of women who’re taking pc science. After we began this initiative, 223 women have been enrolled in a pc science class. This yr, the Arkansas Division of Schooling reviews that the quantity has jumped to three,135. That may be a 1,300 p.c enhance over 2014.
Many publications and tech organizations, resembling Code.org, have acknowledged Arkansas as a pacesetter in pc science schooling. However we are able to’t relaxation on our success, which is why I’m working with the Arkansas Common Meeting to open up extra alternatives for our younger individuals.
Final yr, I created the Pc Science and Cybersecurity Job Pressure, and one among its suggestions is to require a pc science course to be taken for commencement. I’m grateful to Sen. Jane English for sponsoring this laws and recognizing its significance. And, by the college yr 2022-23, each highschool within the state should make use of at the very least one instructor who’s licensed to show pc science.
After we turned the primary state within the nation to require all excessive faculties to show pc science, our aim was to extend enrollment to 7,500 by the 2019-20 faculty yr. We surpassed that aim a yr early. This yr, even with COVID-19, we topped over 10,000. We’ve completed that as a result of educators and college students embraced the initiative. We’ve enhanced our schooling system, strengthened our workforce, and we’re persevering with to set the tempo.