From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our great nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
People who know me will tell you that when I disagree with someone, I’ll let them know. It doesn’t matter if it’s a governor, a Congressman or a long-time friend.
By the same token when I agree with someone I’ll let them know, even if they belong to the opposite political party.
When we put aside our political differences and work together, it’s amazing what we can accomplish.
For example, in 2015 the governor ran on a platform of expanding public school offerings in computer science. The legislature, myself included, approved funding for more teachers and equipment.
We enacted tougher education standards. For example, we required all high schools to offer at least one course in computers.
Since then, we’ve seen an 800 percent increase in the total number of high school students enrolled in computer science classes.
It’s especially encouraging that the number of girls learning computer technology has risen by almost 1,200 percent. Four years ago there were only 223 girls taking computer science classes, in all of Arkansas. This year, there are 2,852.
The total number of high school students in computer classes has gone up from about 1,100 in 2015 to about 9,800 this year.
This is cause for celebration because the new computer classes are rigorous and demanding. We’re not teaching kids how to play video games, or type on electric keyboards.
We’re teaching them how to write computer code. They’re learning the job skills of the future, in just about every field of endeavor – business, communications, shipping, farming, entertainment, health care.
We no longer have to look to the rest of the country for leadership, when it comes to educating our young people with the job skills they’ll need to secure a prosperous future.
It all happened because we put aside partisanship and worked toward a common goal.
From the state Capitol, it is always my greatest honor and most sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.