Parson vetoes bill aimed at boosting computer science classes

Gov. Mike Parson has vetoed a bill aimed at boosting student involvement in computer science.

The measure — which was backed by area tech organizations, such as the KC Tech Council, and global tech companies including Apple and Amazon — would have encouraged high school students to take computer science courses by allowing those classes to be counted as a math, science or practical arts credit rather than as an elective. The bill also aimed to increase awareness of science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, also known as STEM.

Missouri school counseling organizations voiced concerns over the bill, saying that giving students an option to opt out of math classes for computer science might ill prepare them for college. In a veto letter this month, Gov. Parson also voiced concerns, saying a portion of the bill requiring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to pick a provider for online STEM courses favored one particular vendor, which he did not name.

“While I fully support the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and making our state’s students aware of career opportunities in those fields, I cannot approve of the program’s provisions as written,” Parson said in the letter.

Many in favor of the bill reacted in surprise to the veto and said they would take up the measure again next session, including the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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