Lawmakers seek more computer science in schools

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A House panel Tuesday approved a proposal that would gradually require more public schools throughout the state to offer computer-science courses.

The bill (HB 1213), sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Porter, R-Lake City, would require a minimum of 4 percent of middle and high schools in each school district to offer computer science courses during the 2018-2019 academic year, with that requirement gradually increasing to 10 percent during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Smaller districts with 10 or fewer middle and high schools would be required to offer computer science in at least one school no later than the 2020-2021 year.

The bill, approved Tuesday by the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee does not include a past proposal that would have allowed high-school students to take computer coding to satisfy foreign-language requirements.

The Senate Education Committee last week also started moving forward with a Senate version (SB 1056) of Porter’s bill. That measure is sponsored by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican who is the Senate’s chief budget writer for public schools.