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Michigan lawmakers may require high schools to teach computer science

outside of the Michigan capitol buidling
The House Education Committee heard testimony on a bill that would require public high schools to offer a computer science for students. (Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)
  • A bill sponsored by Democrats would require public high schools to offer a computer science course to students
  • Students would not be required to take the course 
  • Proponents of the bill say offering the course will help schools prepare students for high-demand jobs

Michigan public high schools would be required to offer a computer science course, under a bill debated Tuesday that appears to have bipartisan support.

House Bill 5649 would require public high schools starting in 2027 to offer computer science but would not require students to take the course to graduate.


“As technology continues to advance, computer science skills are increasingly necessary in order to compete in a 21st century workforce,” bill sponsor Rep. Carol Glanville, D-Grand Rapids, told the House Education Committee Tuesday. “Yet only 55% of Michigan high schools currently offer computer science ... which is below the national average.” 


Schools would need to make a “good-faith effort” to offer the course in-person, but if they cannot, they can offer a virtual course instead, according to the bill.

Minority Vice Chair Jaime Greene, R-Richmond, said she appreciates the “thoughtful implementation” and called the effort a “fantastic bill.”

She said it’s “unfortunate” that the state needs to require a mandate and schools should offer the class on their own.

Lisa Rivera, a teacher and technology coordinator at Mackinaw City Public Schools, said her district’s courses on computer science includes “problem solving and collaboration” amongst students. 

She said her district has been offering Advanced Placement courses in computer science since 2020 and later expanded computer science programming for seventh and eighth grade. The district has 145 students and only 11 teachers in grades six through 12, she said.


“If our small school can both offer and require computer science, other districts can do it too,” she said. 

Representatives from the Michigan Department of Education testified in support of the bill. The state already has developed computer science standards

The bill defines computer science as “the study of computers and  algorithmic processes, including, but not limited to, their principles, hardware and software designs, implementation,” and a study that focuses on how to create technologies.

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