By allowing instruction in coding to satisfy foreign-language credits, Florida Senate Bill 468, Computer Coding Instruction, mistakenly equates instruction in computer coding with learning other languages.
Apparently, the Florida Senate understands the term “computer language” to mean that COBOL, ALGOL, FORTRAN and Java are equivalent to English, Spanish, French, and the other 6,500 living human languages in their richness and complexity as one of the fundamental traits of what makes us human.
Indubitably, we need more young people engaging in STEM careers. At the same time, recent surveys by the Michigan State University Collegiate Employment Research Institute document that the needs for linguistic and cultural human capital in the 21st-century economy are equally unmet. Florida Senate Bill 468 puts foreign languages, an already underfunded discipline, at risk of losing further support in the state.
William P. Rivers, executive director, Joint National Committee for Languages — National Council for Language and International Studies, Garrett Park, Md.