Ohio House OKs bill to prepare students for tech jobs

COLUMBUS — State Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, announced this week that the Ohio House has passed legislation that would add computer science as an option in the state curriculum for high school.

House Bill 170 would require the State Board of Education to adopt academic content standards and model curriculum for computer science. Schools would not be mandated to adopt the standards. Under the bill, students may elect to take a computer science course in lieu of algebra II, most science courses, and as an elective in high school.

“This bill is about jobs in Ohio,” Reineke said. “We have job availability, at least in my district, but we are not producing students who are ready for the jobs that are available. This bill helps to equip students with the skills needed to succeed in a highly competitive, technologically advanced 21st century economy.

“We have great opportunities in Ohio when the private sector works with our public education system,” he said. “This great state of ours is diverse and this bill allows those at the local level who understand the educational component of our workforce needs to be proactive and relevant.”

The bill also provides opportunities for teachers who hold a valid teaching license or an endorsement in computer technology to teach computer science courses. Also, schools would be able to create a “technology and computer science” matching fund to be used for professional development.

HB 170, a part of the Buckeye Pathway policy agenda, awaits deliberation in the Ohio Senate.