JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The building blocks of the 21st century are digital and less than half of Mississippi’s public schools teach computer science.
C Spire has invested millions in supporting computer science in schools around Mississippi. Their new ad campaign suggests more has to be done.
“Thank you for not requiring computer science in schools," said a woman in the ad. "Georgia did. So, growing companies come here instead.”
The ad is a dramatization but the issue is one C-Spire says is all too real.
“In order to be able to see the drastic improvement that we need to see in our workforce, it’s going to take computer science in our schools," explained C Spire Senior Marketing Strategist Scarlet Seward. "This is an opportunity for our kids, for their future. They’re going to be left behind.”
The Mississippi’s Future Can’t Wait campaign encourages the public to get on board with C-Spire.
It also gives you easy access to a form to write lawmakers and say you support legislation requiring K-12 computer science curriculum in all public schools
“We need people in Mississippi, in our workforce, with the skills needed to fill those technology roles," added Seward. "And this is not just for technology companies. This is for companies regardless of what industry they’re in. Because technology impacts all of us in our day to day.”
Clinton is one district that’s already started teaching computer science at younger ages. One 5th grade computer science class designed video games that reflect the storyline of a book they recently read.
“I’ve seen students who maybe didn’t have great grades in English or great grades in math or even a lot of support at home but they come in and they can code," noted fifth grade computer science teacher Jana Chao. "And they can solve problems and they can think critically. And they soar in this class. And all of a sudden it turns something on for them that they can be a part of later in life that wasn’t there before.”
The bill that would make computer science a requirement in Mississippi schools hasn’t been filed but is being drafted.
We’ll keep an eye on its progress at the State Capitol.