BEATRICE – A new state law as the result of legislation this past session will require Nebraska school students to complete study in computer science and technology in order to graduate.


Beatrice Public School Administrators expressed concern Tuesday night that such mandates can squeeze out career options for students, who may want to look at other areas of study.


BPS is considering implementing the requirement at the eighth grade level…a requirement Assistant Superintendent Jackie Nielsen says has been largely without guidance from state education officials.  Superintendent Jason Alexander says in a world of comparison between school districts, such mandates don’t make it easier.


"In so many different times and different discussions we are compared to other schools in the state...whether they are close to us, or far away from us. And, the state continues to change the rules of the game, by mandating things like this...like the computer science course, like what we teach. A lot of those mandates come from people who have no clue, about what happens within a school. They mandate things that then, in turn, impact what happens at a school and then make comparisons across the board as to what schools are doing this really well and which schools aren't....without really understanding all of the dynamics involved."


Beatrice Public Schools currently requires 260 credits for a student to graduate from the system….a figure that is higher than many other districts. High School Principal Jason Sutter says mandates can also impact a district’s graduation rate.


"Most of our kids....they'll take whatever class we come up with....whether its eighth grade or high school....a lot of our kids will take and be successful, but just not take as many electives. There will be some kids who won't be successful in it. That has an impact on our graduation rate."


School Board President Eric Trusty says mandated courses by the state could effect what students can take as elective courses. The new law gives schools until the 2024-25 school year to incorporate computer science and technology classes into their elementary and middle schools….plus a high school level course by the 2026-2027 school year.