Why MCPS Should Teach Everyone to Code

Bulldog’s Bark

By Julia Lescht, Online Opinions Editor

Technology. It’s the wave pushing future progress. Infinite sources of information–both credible and incredible–are available at the click of a button. Robots are taking over the jobs of people everywhere you turn. Americans no longer need to leave their homes in order to get dinner. It makes somewhat little sense that, as a high school student, the raw workings and makings of something so pervasive in everyday life and the classroom is barely taught in school.

At this point in time all or most teenagers are well-acquainted with smart devices and social media. Especially at schools like CHS, the entire realm of Google Classroom, although new in prominence, exists for students and teachers to efficiently conduct learning online. But besides these easy-to-access tools, an up and coming task in our present society is what’s behind all of these new innovations–coding.

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, code is program instructions, and coding is to write code for a computer program. Program is a series of coded software instructions to control the operation of a computer, and to program is to write, provide and input these instructions for the automatic execution of a task.

In this context, the two terms may as well be synonymous.

According to a 2016 (Google) Gallup research study “Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools, while 90 percent of parents want their child studying computer science in school, only 40 percent of schools actually teach it.

Yes, MCPS does require all students to fulfill a technology credit during high school in order to graduate. However, of the two basic options, which are Foundations of Technology (FOT) and Design Technology Solutions (DTS), many students opt to enroll in FOT–a course which is more focused on mechanics and a wide range of less programming-related topics, and it does not explicitly teach students coding. While there is DTS–which does teach students coding, not all students are required to take it and thus not all students obtain that sort of necessary knowledge in high school. Programming used to be a skill left solely to those who were interested in computer science, but with the advent of the web, more and more industries and career paths are requiring knowledge in the field. In addition, businesses nowadays need to know how to use the internet correctly to successfully brand their name through apps and websites.

Also, according to code.org, computing jobs are the greatest source of new wages in the United States with 500,000 current job openings in all different fields of industry.

Schools like CHS have a blatant and major goal to produce successful and productive members of society, so if computer science knowledge is becoming as required in the job market as reading or addition are, then schools should teach it in the same manner that they teach reading or arithmetic.

Economically speaking, it makes sense for schools all across the nation to teach students such skills if those skills are going to get their students jobs and salaries in the future. The American public education system is supposed to set up its attendees for successful futures, thus, teaching skills that will give them a leg up in the job field seems would be an effective way to do so.

However, in order for students to learn code, teachers must know how to do it as well.

According to code.org’s 2015 report, under 10 percent of U.S. high schools offer AP computer Science courses.

Although, with the emergence of websites such as Code.org and Codeacademy, it has become cheap and accessible to learn coding for people of all ages. The websites offer a diverse range of online courses that teach all about coding and how to do it. Foreign governments themselves have even begun to take advantage of these resources in their public education systems.

According to a May 22, 2014 Wired Magazine article, in 2014 the British government implemented computer science into its national education curriculum with the use and help of Code academy.

The United States Department of Education should do the same. People always say teenagers are so wrapped up in their phones, so maybe it would make sense to teach them how they work.