Georgia approves K-8 computer science standards

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The Georgia State Board of Education approved new K-8 computer science standards Thursday. With the goal that all of Georgia’s students will able to contribute effectively to an increasingly technology-driven society, the K-8 standards move computer science education beyond its current offering as a high school elective to a comprehensive K-8 discipline.

According to the Department of Education, the computer science standards were written with national and international frameworks in mind, but ultimately, they are “Georgia-owned and Georgia-grown.”

The standards recommend schools first teach K-2 students computer basics, including the functions of digital tools, technology-driven communication and safe computer use, and introduce new topics as students rise through grade levels, such as coding, website design, and program debugging.

Georgia’s computer science education will also focus on cybersecurity ethics, privacy laws and careers in computer science.

Before approving the standards this week, Georgia’s Department of Education conducted a survey of administrators, educators and parents in January to collect feedback.

“I like the idea of discussing privacy issues through all grade levels. … Safety is my biggest concern for online savvy students,” said one respondent.

“I believe the standards are in perfect alignment,” said another.

However, there were many concerns regarding the implementation and rigor of the standards.

Several critiques asked if there would be teacher training, if teacher workload had been considered and if there will be sufficient funding.

“I’m concerned that there are too many standards to be covered in depth during a school year,” one commenter said.

Ultimately, the Education Department said it hopes the standards for computer science will support and inspire Georgia’s students as they grow and learn, empowering students to be successful, responsible and engaged citizens.