The head of the Glynn County Board of Education says a new idea espoused by Gov. Nathan Deal for public school education sounds good to him.
Deal said this week he will recommend the Georgia Board of Education amend state policy to allow computer programming courses to satisfy core requirements for receiving a high school diploma. He also is asking the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents to accept the courses for admission into its universities and colleges.
"The world of education is changing before our eyes. The use of technology is necessary to keep up with the modern day workforce," said Hank Yeargan, chairman of the Glynn County school board.
Yeargan, a Brunswick dentist, says he can see where it would help in his own profession.
"Personally speaking, the dental field has progressed tremendously technologically just in the past decade," he said. "We currently use digital X-rays, CAD-CAM technology for dental restorations and are basically paperless for keeping our records.
"Here in Glynn County we even have practitioners that use X-ray computer tomography integrated with computer programs that reproduce the exact anatomy of a human jaw. This technology can help remove any guessing when it comes to some difficult procedures, ultimately providing better and more successful dental procedures."
When announcing his recommendation, Deal said students need to acquire the 21st century skills necessary to thrive in the modern workforce.
"Computing is currently one of the fastest growing occupations in the country with average salaries nearly twice the national rate," Deal said. "In fact, more than half of the projected job growth in the STEM fields will be in computing occupations. We must begin training our young people in these areas prior to their post-secondary education so they are prepared to fill these high-wage, in-demand positions."
Georgia allows Advanced Placement Computer Science to satisfy the fourth and final science credit in high school. Only 18 percent of Georgia high schools offer this class and less than 1 percent of students took the course in 2013.
"I am working to keep Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation for business and we must have a strong education system that responds to the needs of companies across our state in order to do so," Deal said. "Computer science should no longer be just a high school elective. With the help of strong partners like Georgia Tech, we can develop these valuable courses and better prepare our students for college and the workforce."
Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, said the change would support STEM efforts -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"It is a recognition of the evolving dynamics of our increasingly technologically dependent world," Huckaby said.
Other leaders in the local school system also like the idea, including Howard Mann, superintendent of the Glynn County School System.
"Allowing local schools to use technology to fulfill core content requirements will provide students with a wider range of opportunities, not only in the high schools but also in both colleges -- College of Coastal Georgia and Coastal Pines Technical College," Mann said. "Students will now be able to receive college credit and high school credit at the same time if they take advantage of the dual enrollment opportunities that are available at our colleges."
Millard Allen, who represents the islands on the school board, said what the governor is proposing must go further than just computer programming.
"I am sure the governor is thinking more of computer science," Allen said. "I would be happy to see a fundamental computer science program be introduced; however, it needs to be coordina
The Brunswick News