Should schools teach computer code as a foreign language?
A new bill passed by the Kentucky Senate counts computer programming classes toward fulfilling foreign-language requirements in public schools. Parents debate whether coding should be a supplement to, or a replacement for, foreign language classes.
Many parents would agree kids learning coding is great for their future job prospects, but a new bill passed by the Kentucky Senate to count computer programming classes toward fulfilling foreign-language requirements in public schools leads to a debate over this is as a step forward or backward in education.Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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According to my favorite tech site, Gizmodo, “rather than taking three years of Spanish or French or whatever, kids can choose to learn to code.”
The Gizmodo writers point out, “whether it's Java or German, they're both technically languages. But they're also two very different skills.”
“The goal is to enhance programming skills, enabling more Kentucky students to land high-paying jobs in the growing computer industry,” said Sen. David Givens (R), the bill’s sponsor told the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.
“Today in America ... an entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than 8 million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years," said Mr. Obama.
The challenges in adding a topic like coding to the curriculum include limited school resources, such as in-class time, teachers qualified to handle this topic, and availability of the technology necessary to teach coding. These challenges could be exacerbated in Title One areas around the country.
However, coding could offer a valid alternative to kids who lag behind in traditional foreign language classes – especially those students who are interested more in math and science programs.