No VoTech in Public Schools

That seems to be the cry of those who object to a potential requirement that students should learn to code by the time they graduate from high school.

The Wall Street Journal ran another of its point-counterpoint debates, this time on the subject of learning coding—the rudiments of  programming—over the weekend.

Supporters argue

The idea is that such a skill will be invaluable in a world that increasingly runs on computer technology. What’s more, many companies report shortages of workers with programming skills.

Detractors, in addition to crying crocodile tears over supporters having ties to industry, argue

adding a coding requirement for graduation is at odds with the very purpose of public education, and its focus on humanistic values.

Extend the detractors’ logic a skosh. It would seem they don’t want any form of Vocational-Technical classes in public education. Get rid of the VoTech classes in high school that would so prepare these students, with no desire for college, for earning their way in the workaday world (earning more than many college graduates). Get rid of VoTech classes in the public junior colleges, too—after all, these two-year colleges are only for the college-bound looking for a cheaper entry into college and for already working middle-aged adults looking to improve their business skills.

Extend the detractors’ logic a small bit further than that skosh. Computers are as ubiquitous a tool in today’s world as are pens, pencils, and keyboards. Knowing the rudiments of programming is as critical to getting along in the world—now especially for engineers and theoreticians (yes, including feminist studiers)—as is basic writing.  Maybe we should stop wasting grade school money on writing and junior and senior high school money on essay writing.  After all, we have computers for that.

Or, maybe those supporters have the better argument.

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