Four states are currently in the process of approving measures to allow high school students to fulfill foreign language-learning requirements with a computer language instead, according to John Lauerman of Bloomberg:

"Proponents say such an approach will help students get jobs and businesses compete internationally. By 2020, companies across the U.S. will have 1.4 million job openings requiring computer-science expertise and just 400,000 college graduates to fill them, according to Code.org, a Seattle-based advocacy group for tech education."

We've talked in this space before about how important it is to get young people interested in coding. We've also written at length about the value of learning additional spoken languages. What I'm getting at here is a two-part reaction to this news:

1. This is a great idea.

2. Why should it be one or the other?

Of course, what this eventually leads to is a debate over which subjects get axed in favor of others. Some would suggest American high schoolers learn too much redundant history. Others would say that history is much more vital than physical education. Still others would rightfully react with uproar if P.E. disappeared.

The only solution through which all bases are covered is if we as a society prioritize learning outside the classroom as well. Maybe this is through after-school programs or subsidized summer classes. Perhaps coding could become something of a team effort like Little League. However it works out, someone's going to feel like their favorite subject is getting the short shrift and not be too happy about it. But it still stands that, yes, coding is very important, as is learning Spanish or German or French or Mandarin or...

In the video below, computer programmer Larry Wall explains how his Perl language is not unlike human language:

Read more at Bloomberg.

Photo credit: MaIII Themd / Shutterstock