National Governors Association Chairman and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson introduced his 2021-22 NGA Chairman’s Initiative, K-12 Computer Science Education, which will support a national effort to expand and improve computer science education.
Building on Gov. Hutchinson’s successes in Arkansas, the initiative focuses on training educators to teach computer science at all grade levels, preparing young people for jobs in computer science, and introducing all students to the computer skills that are needed for jobs in every career.
“Arkansas has become known nationally for our computer science education program and, through this initiative, I want to showcase the efforts in other states and show why this matters and how we can expand computer science education,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “Governors are committed to helping people in their states and territories access the education and skills development they need for the jobs of the future, and we know that many of those jobs will be in computer science. As we work to put the pandemic behind us, we’re also working to ensure that Americans from all walks of life have the skills to succeed.”
Gov. Hutchinson outlined his initiative Friday during a speech and question-and-answer session at The National Press Club.
As NGA Chairman, Gov. Hutchinson is working with fellow Governors around the country to develop and spotlight best practices for computer science education in K-12 schools, while also convening Governors and representing the priorities of states and territories in their responses to COVID-19.
As of last year, 20 states required all public high schools to offer computer science, according to the 2020 State of Computer Science report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 11 percent growth in computer science and information technology jobs from 2019 to 2029.
Gov. Hutchinson’s initiatives in Arkansas include legislation that made Arkansas the first state in the nation to require all public high schools to provide classes in computer coding; funding to begin the Arkansas Computer Science Initiative; and funding for four years to train teachers and support K-12 computer science education. These efforts have resulted in rapid growth in enrollment in high-school computer science classes, earning Arkansas national recognition. Gov. Hutchinson believes these results are replicable elsewhere, even as Governors around the country have made great progress in promoting computer science education in their own schools.
Through his NGA Chair’s Initiative, Gov. Hutchinson will showcase best practices in the field from all states and territories and promote bipartisan gubernatorial leadership, as well as examine national strategies to remain at the leading edge of policymaking in computer science education.