HB 170 provides the option for secondary schools to offer instruction in computer science. After the bill passed in the House, the Senate amended it, and the House then reviewed and agreed to the changes. Gov. Kasich signed the bill on December 22.
The bill requires the State Board of Education to adopt academic content standards and a model curriculum for computer science for grades K–12, including standards for introductory and advanced computer science courses in grades 9–12. Any school district or school may use these standards and curriculum, or any part of them, but no school would be required to use them in whole or in part.
Units of instruction
A unit of computer science may be substituted for a unit of math or science but may not take the place of biology or life science courses. Advanced computer science may take the place of algebra II. However, the district must inform the student and his or her parents that secondary institutes may require completion of algebra II as a prerequisite to admission. Parents must sign a statement acknowledging that not taking algebra II may have an adverse effect on college admission. Career-tech students are still permitted to complete a career-based pathway mathematics course in lieu of algebra II or computer science.
Schools may employ only individuals who are licensed in computer science or those who have a license endorsement in computer technology and a passing score on a computer science content exam to teach computer science courses. Additionally, licensed educators who qualify for a supplemental teaching license for computer science may teach computer science courses; these educators may advance to a standard educator license, after teaching computer science for at least two years, by completing a pedagogy course in the applicable grade level.
To teach advanced placement computer science courses, the educator must complete a professional development program endorsed or provided by the organization that creates and administers national advanced placement exams.
School boards may establish a computer science and technology fund to support computer science programs and professional development. The fund may include district or school funding, private funding, and future state funding, as long as these funds may legally be used for this purpose and are not designated for something else. This fund may be used for professional development, online assessments including instruction and data that support these assessments, wireless connectivity, network services, computer equipment purchases, and leveraging or matching additional private donations.
Auxiliary services funding
Private, nonreligious charter schools are permitted but not required to receive auxiliary services funding directly rather than from the local school district. In this case, these schools may contract with the local districts for certain health, support, scoring, and security services for which the funding may be used. After the end of each biennium, if the funding was insufficient, these schools may apply to ODE for funds to make up the difference.