Va. Gov. Signs K-12 Computer Science Bill, Making the Subject a Requirement for All

By Liana Loewus — May 19, 2016 1 min read
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Virginia has officially become the first state to add computer science to its core academic requirements for elementary, middle, and high school.

As we wrote in April, the state legislature unanimously passed a bill adding “computer science and computational thinking, including computer coding” to Virginia’s K-12 standards. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed the legislation on Monday, as was expected.

A robot delivered the bill to the governor during the signing ceremony in Richmond, local news sources report.

“We will be sending a clear message ... to all the businesses around the globe that we’re very serious about this, computer science, and what we need to do to build those skill sets of the future,” McAuliffe said, according to the Roanoke Times. “States talk about it. We’re taking action today to get that done.”

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Thomas Greason, R-Loudoun, told the paper it would take about two years to develop and implement the standards. Curriculum decisions will be made locally.

Several other states are working to expand access to computer science as well, though none have gone as far as Virginia. Starting in 2017-18, all Arkansas elementary and middle school students will learn the subject. That state already requires that high schools offer computer science courses, but students don’t have to take them.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.