Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.
Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

Every High School Would Teach Computer Science Under Bill 

05/15/24 01:23 PM By Team MIRS

(Source MIRS.news, Published 05/14/2024) Every high school in Michigan would need to take a “byte” out of the computer science “pi” by offering at least one computer science course under legislation computed by Rep. Carol Glanville (D-Grand Rapids).  


Glanville said computer science is a foundational skill to succeed in the 21st century, teaching creative problem-solving, computational thinking, programming, data analysis and cybersecurity, yet only 55% of Michigan high schools currently offer a course. 


Michigan has more than 17,000 computing jobs available with an average annual salary of more than $82,000, Glanville said.  


Glanville clarified that HB 5649 would not impose a graduation requirement, and school districts that can’t afford to hire another teacher or don’t have space for a computer lab could employ an online course that meets the Computer Science Teacher Association standards.  


Julia Wynn, state government affairs director for Code.org, said computer science is not to be confused with computer literacy, the latter of which is knowing how to browse the Internet or open applications. Wynn said computer science involves studying a computer’s processes, software, hardware, design, and societal impact. 


High schoolers would learn coding, programming algorithmic processes, cybersecurity and digital information, Wynn said.  


Especially with the rising prominence of artificial intelligence, Wynn said it’s critical for students to learn how AI acquires its data.  


The 55% figure of high schools that offer computer science is lower than the national average and also doesn’t compare to averages in the region, Wynn said.  


Glanville said the bill doesn’t require a specific computer science course be taught, whether it be AP Computer Science, AP Computer Science and Principles, an online course or another option. 


Rep. Jaime Greene (R-Richmond) thanked Glanville for the bill and said “thoughtful implementation is the word of the day.”