Code could become mainstream


Brett Stover

Next year, southern Missouri’s nearest neighbor, Arkansas will become the first state to require public high schools to teach coding classes. President Barack Obama also recently went as far as to suggest in a Google+ Hangout that coding should be mandatory for graduation like English or math.
Although these types of courses are just now receiving widespread support, the Columbia Area Career Center has long offered coding to Columbia Public Schools students. Patrick Sasser, who teaches coding at the CACC, thinks that one motive behind the push to make coding required is because those who do know coding aren’t valued that much.
“People take it for granted that kids know coding now… In the past, people would say, ‘Oh a student knows Microsoft Word or Excel; they can make a powerpoint.’ Now they say, ‘Oh, they know all that stuff, but they can also write code,’” Sasser said. “…That is why I think people are talking about making it a required class.”
While Sasser doesn’t believe CPS should require students to take coding courses, he does feel it should be offered as a foreign language credit. He thinks that because only one practical art credit is necessary for graduation, students are discouraged from taking CACC classes.
“I am not saying that a foreign language is not important,” Sasser said, “but I think coding and the language of websites and the language of code and the language of Java or PhP or C++ should suffice that or satisfy that requirement for a foreign language.”
Senior Alain Chen, who finds the C++ classes he take beneficial, thinks coding is vital because computers are in practically everything.
“I think that would be interesting,” Chen said, “because it makes you think and you have to combine your English skills like syntax and grammar and logical skills from your math and science classes.”
Junior Shray Kumar disagrees. He believes that coding should be a recommended course for those going into a computer science field, like biological science classes for those looking to become doctors.
“If the students have been performing extremely well in high school because of those coding classes, sure, add them. But from what I know and my personal experience, I really don’t think it’s necessary.
By Brett Stover
Additional reporting by Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi