Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the number of high school students enrolled in computer science courses has risen 22% from the previous year. 9,813 students are taking computer science courses in the 2019-2020 school year compared to 8,044 last year, he said.
Hutchinson campaigned in 2014 on an initiative to expand computer science courses in school districts across the state. In his first legislative session, he successfully passed legislation to expand offerings in school districts statewide, including funding for teacher training in computer science. He also annually makes a computer coding tour of the state to encourage participation in the program.
“When we first launched the computer science education initiative, we set a goal to increase the number of students who are enrolled in a computer science course to 7,500 by the 2019-2020 school year,” Hutchinson said. “This year marks the end of that timeframe, and we have exceeded our goal by more than 2,000 students. The enthusiasm, creativity, and innovation that we have seen for computer science from our students and teachers continue to amaze me, and I’m confident that this movement will be a catalyst for continued growth in Arkansas.”
Hutchinson said that in year one of the effort, there were 1,104 students enrolled in computer science classes. He disclosed that the number of female students has risen from 223 in the 2014-2015 school year to 2,852 this year.
“The continued increase in computer science enrollment numbers reflects the value that students and teachers place on computer science education in Arkansas,” said Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key. “Not only have our students far exceeded expectations set five years ago, they are paving the way in computer science education for the rest of the country. I am so proud of their hard work, as well as the efforts, time, and commitment from Arkansas’s educators. Together, we are leading the nation in student-focused education.”