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IA Half

Gov. Kim Reynolds joined a phone call Monday with Ivanka Trump and Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives, where they rolled out a White House initiative to support high-quality STEM education, with a focus on K-12 computer science.

“I applaud this administration’s commitment to ensuring all of our students have access to the computer science skills and training necessary to fill the jobs of the future,” Gov. Reynolds said. “In a technology-driven economy, it’s essential that elementary students learn the basics of computer science so they are prepared to take more advanced computer science courses later, if that’s what interests them.”

The White House initiative complements Iowa’s 2011 STEM initiative and new state law that encourages every elementary, middle and high school in Iowa to offer high-quality computer science instruction by July 1, 2019. Iowa’s legislation includes establishing a computer science professional development incentive fund to prepare more teachers to teach computer science.

An Iowa computer science work group made up of business and education leaders and legislators is expected to make recommendations on how the professional development incentive fund could best be used and how computer science courses could count as a math or science credit for high school graduation. Those recommendations are expected later this fall.

“In Iowa, we know that expanding high-quality STEM education, including computer science, is critical to opening up new opportunities for young people, including girls and underrepresented minorities, as well as helping employers close the skills gap,” Gov. Reynolds continued. “This will help us meet our Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of the workforce having education or training beyond high school by the year 2025.”