Will Indiana make Computer Science a Graduation Requirement? Nextech Hopes so
As part of his preview of 2024 administrative and legislative priorities, Governor Eric Holcomb this week announced one of his objectives is to “give students the skills they need to meet modern workforce demands by requiring a computer science (CS) course to graduate from high school.”
If enacted, Indiana would be the ninth state to require a CS course for graduation.
This announcement is the latest of many moves that Hoosier legislators and administrators have made in recent years to demonstrate Indiana’s commitment to preparing its students for the demands of the 21st-century job market.
The Tech Opportunity
Indiana has a rich history in tech success stories and career opportunities. In 2023, there were an average of 5,623 open computing jobs each month, offering an average salary of $85,637. The demand for skilled individuals in these high-paying tech roles has created a vast landscape of opportunities for Hoosier students to explore. Making CS a graduation requirement will address the skills gap and put students on a solid path to many of the state’s lucrative careers in tech.
Leading the Charge in Equitable Access
Indiana has been at the forefront of states championing equitable access to computer science education. In the 2017-18 school year, only 51 percent of public high schools in the state offered foundational computer science courses. Since 2018, the state has invested more than $18 million in K-12 CS education, demonstrating its commitment to advancing access across all grades. The most recent data shows Indiana ranking sixth in the nation and first in the Midwest for access to computer science courses in high schools, with 91 percent of public high schools offering foundational courses. This puts Indiana significantly ahead of the national average of 57.5 percent.
Bridging the Participation Gap
Indiana has made strides in access, but the challenge lies in student participation. Currently, only 6 percent of Indiana high school students are enrolled in foundational CS courses. So clearly, access is not enough. There is extreme urgency to address this participation gap, and the Governor’s announcement signals a commitment to closing this disparity.
As the legislative session unfolds, the eyes of the nation will be on Indiana, watching how this next step in CS education will further transform the educational landscape and prepare students for the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in Indiana’s tech ecosystem. We hope you join us in supporting this proposal.