COLUMBUS—State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) today announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation that would allow Ohio high school students to choose computer science instead of classes like geology and Algebra II as graduation requirements. The bill is supported by some of the biggest tech companies and national computer science organizations, such as Google and House Bill 170 will put Ohio ahead of many other states in promoting computer science education as one option for high school graduation. The legislation leaves the ultimate decision up to locally elected school boards, who may choose to still require Algebra II or any other class for graduation.

House Bill 170 would require the State Board of Education to adopt academic content standards and model curriculum for computer science. Schools would not be mandated to adopt the standards. Under the bill, students could elect to take a computer science course in lieu of Algebra II, physical science courses such as geology, and as an elective in high school.

“It’s important that we are preparing our students to enter a 21st century workforce, and HB 170 is a step toward that in the areas of science and technology,” said Rep. Carfagna. “If we can incorporate these classes early on and give students a pathway, we will be all the better as a state and nation.”

The bill also provides opportunities for teachers who currently hold a valid teaching license or an endorsement in computer technology to teach computer science courses. In addition, schools would be able to create a “Technology and Computer Science” matching fund to attract private-sector donations that could be used for professional development or equipment.

“One-size-fits-all is being replaced with customized education for students on different pathways,” said Representative Duffey. “HB 170 will allow students to take more computer science classes and count them toward graduation requirements. This choice will be left to the student and the local school board. HB 170 will not force students to take this pathway, but it will free up Ohio’s graduation requirements to allow this pathway to occur.”

House Bill 170, a part of the Ohio House Republican Caucus’ “Buckeye Pathway” agenda, now awaits further deliberation in the Ohio Senate.

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