As a kid who majored in a foreign language in college, you'd think I'd have a bias towards the idea that foreign languages should be required teaching for students. I do, but I think the language most essential for the generations coming up (e.g. my kids) is computer science. I'd love to see the basic building blocks of computer science taught systematically from grade school through high school. If taking a foreign language in high school for at least a few years is a requirement to graduate, there's no reason computer science shouldn't also be required. Here are some reasons why:
- Computer-based logic and processing is increasingly the language of how things gets done in the world. Want kids to understand how the banking system, consumer goods retailing, and logistics all work? Understanding basic databases is a great place to start.
- English is increasingly the language of world business. With the exceptions of Spanish and French, do you know lots of friends whose German comes in handy regularly? The Chinese government requires English training for their tens of millions of students. That's a clue: English + French/Spanish + computer science is the way forward to be as multilingual as most people need to be in the world ahead.
- Understanding how computers think helps to beat the system. Annoyed with email spam, hyper-targeted consumer marketing and the like? Computers don't make mistakes, but their algorithms are often simple to master once you understand the underlying logic and data model. Know your enemy.
Am I wrong headed about this?