Bill would allow Florida students to replace foreign language with computer language courses
On the education beat, Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times writes about a push in Florida to let students substitute foreign language requirements with computer language courses:
Sunlake High School sophomore Chris Collins sees little value in his Spanish language courses.
"I was bored out," said Collins, 15. "If I want to travel in the future, I'd probably want to learn the language. I'm not planning to travel."
He much prefers learning the syntax and structure of computer programming, a foundation for the burgeoning international technology trade.
"Why can't code be a language?" he wondered. "I think it should."
State Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Margate Democrat who made his fortune as a Yahoo executive, aims to make it so.
With the backing of key Senate Republican leaders, Ring has filed Senate Bill 468 to allow high school students to replace their two-year foreign language graduation requirement with two years of computer coding courses.
"Obviously, if you can have computer language skills, you can communicate with people all over the world," he explained. "Technology is the great equalizer."
His proposal, similar to one that failed in the 2014 Legislature, resonates nationally as education and political leaders seek to more closely tie career skills to classroom lessons. The rapid expansion of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs along the way highlights the initiative.
But efforts to add coding into the languages curriculum have met with varying degrees of success in several states.