The East Vision

Why East needs a programming class

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Why East needs a programming class

Lauren Vanden Bosch, Staff Writer

In some ways, a STEM education is already flourishing at East Grand Rapids High School with DDT classes and the implementation of a FRC robotics team. But, in other ways, we are falling behind.

Today, only 40 percent of U.S. K-12 schools include computer science in their curriculum. In 2016, President Obama failed to obtain more than $4 billion dollars to ensure a computer science education for every U.S. child. Now President Trump is similarly attempting to call the Department of Education to commit $200 million a year to computer science in American schools. He is even threatening to give fewer federal grants to schools that don’t provide a computer science education to their students.

What does that signify for East? It means that now is the time to begin making these changes. The addition of an AP Computer Science class into our high school curriculum is the first step. It’s true that finding a qualified teacher could be difficult, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Colleges like to see applicants that have some computer science experience. Not only that, but when implemented the class has the potential to meet the needs of many different students. AP Computer Science could count as a language credit for those disillusioned with Spanish, a math credit for those who want a different option besides AP Calculus, or a science credit for those not interested in AP Biology or Physics.

Finally, teaching yourself programming can be hard. When I took a programming class through Michigan Virtual High School, my North Carolina teacher would often not respond to my emails for days. We don’t ask or expect students to teach themselves physics or algebra. Computer science should be no different. It’s definitely not only for math geniuses or computer nerds. It’s an essential 21st century skill; one that everyone should have to some extent. The only way to do that is by paying an instructor to teach it in a traditional classroom setting.

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Why East needs a programming class