Bill allows students to substitute computer coding for foreign language requirement

A bill that would allow Florida high schoolers to take a computer coding class in place of a foreign language has passed  Florida Senate committee.  The Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee voted 8-2 in favor of the measure on Thursday.  

Senate Bill 468 is sponsored State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, who told the committee the bill is not meant to replace foreign languages like Spanish or French.  Ring said computer languages could help students as they enter the workforce and should be considered alongside the foreign languages.

At Crooms Academy, a Seminole County Public Schools magnet school, approximately 300 students take computer programming classes, according to principal Demetria Faison. Students who spoke to FOX 35 said that coding teaches students important skills.  “It teaches you logic, it teaches you a way to think and it really is valuable tin today’s day and age,” said senior Daniel Siciliano.

Senior Klayton Killough said he thinks allowing student to substitute computer language for foreign language makes sense because coding is universal.  “Anybody in any language can code in one programming language and still interact with other people,” Killough said.

Siciliano said he has mixed feelings about the idea.  “Learning an actual language provides you insight into another culture and allows you to see different perspectives and different views,” Siciliano said.

The coding bill would have to pass two more committees before it gets a vote by the full Florida Senate.
There is currently no companion bill in the House.