Education

Kids from K–12 in North Dakota will take computer, cybersecurity courses: new law

The change is part of an ongoing effort by Gov. Doug Burgum to prioritize computer education in the state.
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Some believe the children are our future; others say computers and AI will render humanity obsolete.

The state of North Dakota appears to be trying to have it both ways with a new law that will require a cybersecurity course as a graduation condition for high schoolers, and provide computer training for kids starting in kindergarten.

The requirements of the bill, signed by Gov. Doug Burgum in March, will go into effect in 2025. North Dakota is reportedly the first state in the US to mandate cybersecurity education for K–12 students.

Under the new standards, students in kindergarten through second grade will learn basic computing skills and online safety; students in grades three through five will expand those lessons into basic coding and computer ethics; grades six through eight will learn data skills; and high schoolers will have the option of elevating those skills to more advanced lessons.

The law, which comes in the midst of a nationwide personnel shortage in cybersecurity, will also provide grant money for adult education centers that offer computer education programs.

During remarks delivered at the signing ceremony, North Dakota Superintendent of Schools Kirsten Baesler praised the “years of work” from stakeholders in the schools and state government that led to the new rules.

“Our vision is to integrate and underscore the importance of computer science and cybersecurity instruction into the classes our students take as they move through our K–12 system,” Baesler said. “Under this bill, the information and knowledge our students need will be part of every grade level, which is appropriate when you consider the role that technology plays in our everyday lives.”

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.