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Mounds View High School's student news site.

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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Minnesota schools rank last in the nation for computer science

A lack of computer science course offerings and requirements have led Minnesota high schools to rank last nationally for computer science course opportunities.
Mounds+View+High+School+computer+science+course+offerings
Mounds View High School computer science course offerings

In a 2023 survey by Code.org, they found that only 28% of high schools in Minnesota offered computer science classes. This is a sharp contrast to the national average, with 57% of high schools offering computer science classes. With such a low percentage, Minnesota ranks dead last in the nation for secondary education computer science course offerings.  

A possible cause of low accessibility to computer science courses is that Minnesota, unlike many other states, does not require secondary schools to offer computer science classes. At least 27 other states do, and many states are currently working to pass such legislation, such as Michigan, California and Louisiana. Even with this, expanding computer science education may be difficult as there is also a lack of qualified teachers in this field. In 2018, Minnesota only had three new teachers from teacher preparation programs who were qualified to teach computer science according to Code.org. 

Additionally, Minnesota is also one of seven states that does not have a clear pathway for earning a license or certificate for teaching computer science, unlike in math or science, as reported by Code.org. This is because computer science can be taught in Minnesota at the secondary level with a math or business license. “I have to be a licensed math teacher to teach math. I don’t need to be a licensed computer science teacher to teach computer science at the moment,” said Christopher Hagel, computer science teacher. Not requiring a specific license to teach computer science has made it so that there are no official academic standards for computer science teachers to adhere to as computer science licenses are not recognized. 

In 2022, as part of the effort to bolster computer science education in K-12 schools, Governor Tim Walz signed a compact from the National Governors’ Association pushing to increase computer science education in K-12. Following that, the Minnesota Department of Education introduced the Minnesota Computer Science Education Advancement Act to add computer science coursework into the state’s K-12 curriculum according to Star Tribune. They also enlisted committees, such as the Computer Science Working Group, in an effort to promote long-term growth of computer science education in Minnesota. “Right now, the state has a special working group that’s focusing on making computer science standards, so that way, we can then have standards for high schools, maybe middle schools, and then more course offerings could then be available in the future,” said Hagel. 

The state is also looking into an integrative approach to increase computer science education by incorporating computer science standards into other core subjects or creating other computer-related courses beyond coding. Hagel believes that Minnesota should require at least one computer science class in order to graduate, whether it be a core class or elective. “I would envision that it would be a ‘you get to pick from a menu of things,’ so if you have to take one computer science class, maybe it’s CSP or maybe it’s CSA, or maybe it’s cybersecurity, or maybe it’s networking, something like that. Or maybe it’s just digital citizenship on the ethical concerns and issues that arise with social media being out there and how we use computers every day,” said Hagel.  

With new measures and programs, Minnesota hopes to catch up with other states in computer science education, allowing students to take full advantage of the growing industry and future opportunities. 



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About the Contributor
Graham Hanson
Graham Hanson, Staff Reporter
Graham is a junior staff reporter, and this year is his first year on The Viewer.
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