Coding - For a few years...

Summer Soffer's picture
Coding - For a few years now, I feel like there has been a growing call for students to learn to code. Tim Cook of Apple told President Trump in 2017 that “Coding should be a requirement in every public school.” This NYTimes article discusses the role that Silicon Valley has played in pushing this agenda of introducing computer programming in public schools, largely with the help of, an industry-backed nonprofit group. With millions of dollars in funding, the group has successfully persuaded “two dozen states to change their education policies and laws.” The argument they put forth in favor of this is that coding is now seen as just as essential for students as reading or math. At the same time, it has to be noted that such an agenda serves the interests of Silicon Valley who really stand to economically benefit from a new coding literate generation of students. Qualified engineers are hard to come by, and even harder to retain. What I think is most concerning is that this whole issue sparks an even broader debate about what impact industry/corporations should have in shaping the minds/curriculum of students in public schools. Personally, it seems to me that corporations like Apple are endlessly impacting our perception of the world as consumers as it is and it doesn’t seem right that they can now leverage their economic might to manipulate national education agenda to serve their interests. Do you feel that coding is as essential as reading/writing/math? What amount of influence - if any - should private actors have on public spaces/decision making? Does this change if they are engaging in so-called charitable acts? To what extent do we scrutinize their motivations and actions?