If the new State Board of Education (SBOE) proposed rule change to Chapter 74, Subchapter A*, is approved in January, districts will be required to offer four of the nineteen Technology Applications courses but not required to teach any technology related courses. This has many Texas educators concerned considering the state legislature eliminated the requirement to take a technology course for graduation from high school.
The rules currently require a school district to offer four Technology Applications courses and if ten or more students indicate they want to take one of those four courses, the district must teach it. If these proposed rules are adopted, even if thirty students indicate they wanted to take the Technology Applications course, the district would not be required to teach it. This could severely impact an individual student’s ability to enter college with a basic understanding of computer science concepts and might even prevent them from pursuing a career as a computer scientist.
It is obvious that technology is the heart of our economy. It should also be obvious that teaching our students computational thinking is more than just teaching them how to create a movie or how to put together an effective PowerPoint. As our world becomes more dependent on technology our students must have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of computer science. If a student is not introduced to these concepts in their K-12 education, they are unlikely to see computer science as a viable field for them to enter.
The SBOE is currently taking written comments on the proposed changes. It is expected that they will continue to take comments until January 24. The changes are included in this document. The line that they are proposing to strike is highlighted in yellow. I encourage you to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to express your concern about this rule change.
You may also testify at the January board meeting. They will meet on January 26th. The rules that govern public testimony can be found on the TEA website.