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In 2015, many are told, the most important step you can take to advance your life objectives is learning to code.


Now, Florida students are on the verge of having the option of living out this message — at the expense of learning spoken languages.

Senate Bill 468 would allow high school students to replace their two-year foreign language graduation requirement with two years of computer coding courses. All districts would have to develop courses by 2017. It would also require students take at least two computer coding courses to become eligible for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.


"Obviously, if you can have computer language skills, you can communicate with people all over the world," State Sen. Jeremy Ring a South Florida democrat who made his fortune as a Yahoo executive, told the Tampa Tribune's Jeffrey Solocheck, who adds that Ring's proposal has the backing of Senate Republicans.

Other states have proposed, and passed, legislation introducing coding into the curriculum, but Florida's appears to be the first that would allow languages to be fully replaced with coding.

The proposal is already facing opposition from at least one Miami commentator, who it flies in the face of a Seal of Biliteracy adopted by seven South Florida school districts that she says has helped push graduates' applications to the top of admittance lists.

"Talk about working at cross purposes," said Rosa Castro-Feinberg, a retired Florida International University professor and Spanish teacher and member of the League of Untied Latin American Citizens schools committee, according to the Miami Herald's Fabiola Santiago.


Santiago agreed the proposal is problematic.

"Surely high schools should offer computer science courses (fund them!), but not at the expense of another valuable subject that is just as important in today's competitive job market."


And it actually runs counter to's state education advocacy policies, Solochek notes.

"We still believe (coding) is fundamentally different than a world language," Amy Hirotka, a rep for the group, said at the time.


The bill will have to be taken up in Florida's state House, which does not yet have a companion piece of legislation, Solochek says.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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