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Idaho STEM Plan Aims to Beef Up Engineering, Computer Science Credit

Amid concern that recently revamped high school graduation requirements in Idaho only treat computer science and engineering courses as electives, the state board of education has approved a change that would allow them to count as either a math or science credit.

"With this flexibility, students can gain valuable exposure to high-demand fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," said state schools Superintendent Tom Luna in a news release issued last week. "Often, students have interest in STEM courses, but are not willing to give up electives to take these classes."

He suggests that the change, if enacted, would "open up a world of high-tech opportunities to every high school student."

In particular, the rule singles out dual-credit engineering and dual-credit computer science, as well as AP computer science.

The Idaho state board granted initial approval to the proposed rule, which Luna submitted in consultation with the Idaho Technology Council and leaders in the state's ed-tech sector, the news release says. The plan now goes out for public comment with the state board expected to take final consideration in November. Following that, the measure would go up to the legislature, where it must be adopted by at least one chamber.

The move comes as Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation this spring that allows students who successfully complete AP computer science to receive a math or science credit toward graduation.

For more coverage of the "E" in STEM, check out this Education Week story from earlier this year about growing efforts to advance engineering at the K-12 level.

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