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Why Should Computer Classes Be Mandatory in High School

Michele Meleen
Computer classes are important

Computer and information technology jobs have the fastest average projected growth rate of any occupation. In order for high school students to be prepared for these and other jobs when they graduate, they'll first need to learn basic computer skills.

Parents Believe It Is Important

Code.org's "Why Computer Science in K-12" presentation shares that 90 percent of parents want their children to learn computer science in school. A Pew Research Center study found that about 85 percent of Americans believe a detailed understanding of how computers work is important to an individual's professional succes. In contrast, only 40 percent of schools teach computer programming. It's clear from these numbers parents see value in computer classes during high school.

Students Enjoy the Subject More Than Others

Part of keeping kids engaged and successful in learning is providing subjects that interest them and hold their attention. While educators can't expect teens to love every subject that is important, they can offset the less desirable staples with high-interest subjects that may be equally as important. Code.org suggests computer science and engineering rank second among all school subjects after the arts based on teen input. The subject is popular with teens and relevant to educational and professional goals, making it desirable for everyone.

Incorporates Other Important Skills

Computer literacy and science goes beyond coding, computer languages, and cyber-security. Using computers involves logic, problem solving, and creativity. Teens who take computer classes learn to both use and create technology. Classes might include using specific programs such aas email, which also incorporates learning about proper documentation, spelling, grammar, and professionalism. Jobs requiring analytical, critical thinking and computer skills are among the highest growing types of jobs because all these skills are interrelated and coveted.

Computers Are Part of Every Occupational Field

Most jobs today involve some type of basic computer skills because of the reliance on technology to make work more efficient and error-free. Fast food workers use computerized registers, doctors use electronic systems to maintain patient health history, and even small lawn care business have a website or social media page to engage customers. If you want a higher paying job, about half of those paying over $57,000 per year require some computer coding knowledge or skill.

Increases Odds of Diversity in the Field

Diversity in the workforce helps employers gain perspectives from all different types of people. However, some of this diversity in occupations begins in high school. Girls and black or Hispanic students who take computer science classes in high school are more likely to major in it at college and work in a related career. Exposure to a variety of occupational skills in high school gives all students relevant experience to draw from when choosing a career path.

Can Fulfill High School Math or Science Requirements

Because of the education system's focus on STEM subjects, 35 states now allow computer science class to fulfil a math or science requirement for graduation. Teens can take control of their future and begin specializing in a subject early by taking computer classes in high school. You'll have to check with your school counselor to see if this is an option in your area.

School May Be the Only Point of Access

Many kids don't have access to the internet anywhere besides school. Students living in remote rural areas may have limited internet access at home and can't easily get to a public library or other location that offers access. Teens living in low-income families also may not have access to computers outside of school. As of 2015, only about 61 percent of kids had internet access at home.

Education That Reflects the Real World

A high school education is meant to prepare teens for adult life. Including computer classes in general secondary education makes sense given the current labor market statistics and outlook.

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Why Should Computer Classes Be Mandatory in High School