Education department seeks public feedback on curriculum changes

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Changes to Alabama’s Career and Technical Education curriculum are set to take place next year, but not before getting the public’s opinion. The areas that the department has updated thus far are Architecture and Construction, Information Technology, and Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.

Dawn Morrison, an education administrator for the department, says student interest is one reason for the change in curriculum.

“We have definitely seen growing student interest in the areas of computer science, and cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, perhaps even gaming software development as well, simply because it is a high wage, high demand, you know, career field, but also we have industry, you know, moving into our state,” said Morrison.

Morrison contributes the increased curiosity of students in the area of STEM to the Computer Science for Alabama Act, signed in 2019. This mandated that all high schools offer high-quality computer science courses.

“That trickled down to our middle schools, they also have to offer a high-quality computer science course. And then also beginning with 2022-2023 academic year, our elementary schools are going to be required to integrate coding and computational thinking across the curriculum,” explained Morrison.

So now, it’s time for an update that hasn’t been done since 2008.

“There have been so many advances in the technical areas that we oversee; it was very important that we get updated courses of study,” said Dr. Jimmy Hull, Assistant State Superintendent of Education who oversees Career and Technical Education

The department is asking for public comment for all the courses that have been changed, and from more people than just parents or guardians of students.

“We would be interested to hear from representatives from manufacturing, information technology, and transportation, distribution, and logistics, but we’d also love to hear from other educators, parents, students, former students. You know, it’s a public input,” said Hull.

Comments of praise but especially critiques are welcome because Hull says it’s important that what’s written sets the students up for success and possibly careers.

Public comment can be submitted here until Dec. 23.

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