Senator Jacob Candelaria (D) of New Mexico and Senator David Givens (R) propose computer programming to be a substitute for foreign language requirements to give the students additional skills in an economy that is very computer-oriented. In several high schools in the United States, is it a requirement for students to have credits in a foreign language before they can get their diploma. There are some states now that want computer programming to be a substitute for foreign language requirements.
Foreign language is not taken away
Both senators are in the same mind to encourage high school students to consider a course in computer science to fill the national need, and give them a chance at a more-than-average paying job, as well. Texas and Florida have also introduced legislation on the same concept. Oklahoma on the other hand is already implementing it.
Lower interest in the course
Degrees in computer science peaked in school year 2003-2004. In that period, there were 59,488 degrees conferred for computer science, representing 4.25%. In 2010, the share went down to 2.4% of all college degrees on a national level.
With the high demand for people with IT skills, the legislators are trying to give the course a much-needed boost. California Democrat Representative Tony Cardenas has already presented a legislation in Congress that will give incentives to schools that have computer programming in their high school curriculum.
Pros and cons
For those in favor of the bills, they say that students choosing computer programming instead of a foreign language gives them better preparation for their future position in the workplace. Those that are not in favor of the bills argue that yes, they need to prepare for their future in a computer-aided economy, but they still need to communicate with others on a global scale, no matter what career they want to have in the future. They also argue that substituting foreign language with computer programming will not actually help them but in fact might hinder them as more colleges require freshmen students to have high school foreign language credits for two to three years.
Not a spoken language
Computer coding is a type of language. It is considered a very important one. Yet computer science and linguistics academics and educators do not recognize coding language as comparable to the spoken language.
Concerned groups think that it would be more appropriate to give the subject a math credit than a foreign language credit. Research shows that lack of knowledge about foreign languages and foreign cultures is a threat to the national security of the U.S. Likewise, 40% of the job growth in the U.S. is awarded to foreign nationals because they are competent cross-culturally and possess foreign language skills.