- Several states are making learning to code interchangeable with foreign language requirements.
- Washington state and Kentucky have both proposed legislation that mirrors this trend, with Washington asking that students be allowed to count two years of computer science courses as two years of foreign language studies. The Kentucky proposal would also let coding count toward public university admissions requirements in the state, according to USA Today.
- Legislation like this is also already on the books or being discussed in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Florida.
Computer science advocates aren't sold on the idea. Code.org, for example, warns that programming languages will change over time and schools would be better off having student take traditional computer science courses focused on universal fundamentals like logic and problem-solving.
It's no surprise states are pushing coding so hard, though. Computer science skills are not only some of the most lucrative, but there are plenty of job openings due to a lack of candidates with skills. This trend also aligns with last month's White House commitment and list of guidelines aimed at bringing computer science education to K-12 classrooms. Among initiatives highlighted in the fact sheet: $20 million in funding given for teacher training in computer science, the development of a new AP Computer Science course focused on the creative side of computing, and efforts to increase minority participation in the subject.
In an October post, Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss wrote that coding is something like "cursive 2.0" — a practice that will soon become compulsory in schools across the nation. There are currently 25 states that allow high school students to count computer science classes as math or science credits.
Of course, it's important to mention that foreign languages are still useful to learn and shouldn't be pushed by the wayside. Finding a balance, like letting coding classes count for math or science credit only, may be a place to start.