Governor Wolf Signs Bill To Promote Study of Computer Science in High School

July 21, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – As part of the 2016-17 budget, Governor Tom Wolf signed into a law a bill that allows course work in computer science and information technology to count toward high school graduation.

“There is a consistent and expanding need in Pennsylvania’s economy for a workforce with 21st century computer and information technology skills,” Governor Wolf said. “For too long, however, students pursuing these types of classes were not able to get credit towards their degree – they were treated as electives. We have now changed that and given interested students real incentive to pursue this career path early on.”

House Bill 833 amends the Public School Code Section 1605 – Courses of Study. Beginning with students graduating at the end of the 2016-17 school from a public high school and each year after, a student who completes a course in computer science or information technology during grades 9-12 will be permitted to apply up to one credit earned for completion of such course to satisfy the student’s mathematics or science credit requirement for graduation.

The governing body of the student’s public high school will have discretion to determine the graduation credit requirement to which the credit earned by the student shall be applied.

“Incorporating computer science coursework into school curriculum will ensure that students today can explore the careers of tomorrow and leave high school prepared for the evolving workforce,” said Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera. “As demand for high priority occupations grows, it is a commonsense measure to provide paths to success in those fields during a student’s K-12 education.  This change will not only teach students critical skills and information in computer science, it will keep them active and engaged in learning.”

For the purpose of this bill, “public high school” will mean a public school, including a school within a school district, a charter school, a cyber charter school, a regional charter school or an area vocational-technical school that offers grade 12.

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