CodeHS, a California-based company, announced a new initiative called Code Missouri that will bring computer science and coding classes to more rural school districts. It’s great news, but unfortunately it will only be available to a few districts in the state.
For the 15 rural school districts that are selected, Code Missouri is an exciting development. CodeHS is going to give these districts its computer science program, training for teachers, the curriculum, and tech support—all for free. Fayette High School, which is near Columbia, is piloting the program, and students there are learning to build their own mobile apps.
The only downside is that there will still be a lot of kids in other rural districts without the opportunity to take these classes. This is not a knock against CodeHS at all; rather, it is a call for Missouri to find a solution for all its students.
Show-Me Institute analysts have written about course access at length, especially how it can help rural schools, and how we already have much of the infrastructure for it. If students across the state could use a portion of their annual per-pupil funding to enroll in courses online or at community colleges, they could learn how to code. More importantly, course access would go beyond computer science and give students the choice to take courses across a wide variety of subjects.
No doubt, these new computer science and coding programs are going to give students in a few, fortunate districts valuable new skills and help prepare them for the future. Since the infrastructure is there and course access would redirect current education spending, what’s stopping us from giving all students in Missouri the same opportunity?