Thursday, March 23, 2023

Kansas effort to improve computer science education signed into law – Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — A new law signed Tuesday by Gov. Laura Kelly seeks to boost computer science education in Kansas schools.

The measure enacts the Promoting Computing Knowledge Act, which requires every secondary school to offer at least one computer science course beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Alternatively, schools operating under a school district may submit a plan to the state board of education explaining how the district intends to offer the computer science curriculum and when they intend to offer it.

In addition, House Bill 2466 requires the state board to submit an annual report to the Legislature every January detailing the success of the programs by 2025.

The law also creates a pilot program that covers the cost of the credentialing exam, as well as helping students convert to the workforce with career and technical education backgrounds.

“By expanding computer science education and creating this transition program, we can better retain the skilled workforce produced by Kansas through our K-12 schools,” Kelly said. “Plus, it signals to companies looking to build or expand their business that Kansas is the place to do so.”

Representatives approved the computer science effort last month by 109-10, as did senators 29-6.

In addition, the law provides scholarships for rural areas and under-represented socioeconomic groups to receive teacher training in computer science. The Computer Science Pre-Service Educator Program allows the Kansas Board of Regents to award scholarships of up to $1,000 to pre-service teachers working toward their degree in elementary or secondary education.

HB 2466 provides scholarships for teachers in rural areas and under-represented socioeconomic groups to receive computer science education training.

“HB2466 will bring much needed resources and training to our teachers,” said R-Valley Center representative Steve Hubert. “With this, more classes will be offered, allowing students to gain the computer science skills they need for today’s workforce demands.”

Kelly also signed into law House Bill 2138, a package of election law amendments, including a requirement that all voting systems use paper ballots with a specific watermark. Advocacy groups and legislators opposing the bill argue that the watermark is a fairly unrestricted mandate.

The measure also creates a new reason for county election officials to send confirmation of address notices when there has been no election-related activity from a registered voter for four years. If the notice is returned as “unreliable” or there is no response, the person will be taken off the voter list, according to Clay Barker, the deputy assistant secretary of state.

“We don’t want to turn people off just because they haven’t voted, but not voting with a card is a sign that they’ve moved,” Barker said during a February hearing on the bill.

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