South Carolina isn’t typically noted for its success in K-12 education, but continued focus on computer science as a future career over the past five years has put the state on the map in a positive way.
Code.org and its partners recognized The Palmetto State as a leader in K-12 computer science education with the highest rate of students – 21% – enrolled in foundational computer science courses. The state also tied Arkansas for top nod with 92% of high schools offering foundational computer science coursework, based on data from 26,326 public U.S. high schools.
“Careers that require computer science knowledge and skills continue to grow in South Carolina and across our nation,” said State Superintendent Molly Spearman in a statement. “I am proud of the foundation we have laid that has made us a national leader and is helping to prepare our graduates for future success in this field.”
The assessment was reported in Code.org’s 2021 State of Computer Science Education: Accelerating Action Through Advocacy (.pdf). The annual report compiles one of the most comprehensive analyses of the nation’s progress in computer science education.
The S.C. Department of Education credits part of South Carolina’s success to the advocacy of local leaders, especially Gov. Henry McMaster, who serves as a member of the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science.
McMaster has been an advocate for increasing funding in the education field, recommending more money be allocated to computer science studies in each of his last three Executive Budgets, the SCDE said.
“To prepare our children for an ever-changing, 21st century economy, it is imperative we actively adapt our curriculum to changes in technology, and that is exactly what we have done with computer science,” McMaster said in a statement.
According to the report, more than 70% of superintendents and principals believe that offering computer science courses is just as important as teaching English, math, history and science.
South Carolina currently is only one of three states with a full-year, one-credit graduation requirement in computer science, SCDE said. The hope is to fill the nearly 4,749 open computing jobs statewide, which is 2.4 times the state average demand rate, according to Code.org.
Within South Carolina, computer science salaries average around $77,383.