Iowa Education Chief: Computers = the new basic skill

(Des Moines, Iowa)   There's a big push underway to expand computer education in Iowa, at all grade levels.  Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise says computer science is really the new basic skill because it relates to so many jobs.

He tells WHO Radio News he's been impressed at computer education across the state, noting he's seen first graders doing lessons in coding, and more advanced classes at the high school level.  

Wise says many schools, but not all,  have been devoting time to computer classes.   A law signed this year encourages computer instruction in every school by 2019, although it is not a mandate.

Wise says by 2019, it's hoped that every elementary school offers computer fundamentals, every middle school offers exploratory computer science, and every high school will offer at least one advanced level computer science course.

Wise is leading a working group,  trying to ramp-up computer education.  Members of the panel says they'd eventually like to see it become a graduation requirement.

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