The Chicago Public Schools district has become the first in the nation to make computer science training a requirement for high school graduation.
The district, the third-largest in the US, says that starting with next year's freshman class (graduating in 2020), all students will be required to complete one credit in a computer science class as a core subject alongside other fields such as science, English and mathematics.
"Making sure that our students are exposed to STEM and computer science opportunities early on is critical in building a pipeline to both college and career," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"Requiring computer science as a core requirement will ensure that our graduates are proficient in the language of the 21st century so that they can compete for the jobs of the future."
The Chicago school district is comprised of 396,683 students in 660 schools, including 95 district-run high schools (9-12 grade) and 70 charter high schools.
The move could also provide hope for those pushing for greater diversity in the IT and computer science sectors. Of the nearly 400,000 students in the Chicago Public Schools district, 39.3 per cent are African-American, 45.6 per cent are Hispanic, and about half (we assume) are girls.
While Chicago is the first public school district to make computer science a strict requirement for graduation, hundreds of school districts in the US have been working to integrate the field into their curricula.
According to Code.org, 28 US states allow students to count a computer science course towards their math and/or science requirements, and a number of districts offer computer science as an Advanced Placement course.