- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas is spending $400,000 to offer an online program to middle school students around the state aimed at raising interest in computer science and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday announced the grant from the state Department of Education to provide the Learning Blade program to middle school students in the upcoming school year. Hutchinson said he’ll ask the Legislature to include the funding for the program in the budget in future years.

The Learning Blade program teaches students computer science skills through academic exercises. The lessons are self-guided, allowing to the students to work on the activities in the classroom or during after-school programs. Lawmakers last year approved Hutchinson’s proposal to require public schools to teach computer science classes.

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