The top administrator of Florida's largest school district -- and the fourth largest school district in the country -- remains opposed to a legislative proposal that would let high school students count computer coding as a foreign language.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said again Tuesday that lawmakers should not equate the two, and he said he fears for the implications the policy decision could have on students' future opportunities -- such as their ability to apply for scholarships, college or even competitive jobs in a global workforce.
"We all value the importance of computer science and coding. We all value the importance of foreign language. We just don't believe they're interchangeable," Carvalho told the Herald/Times, while he was back in Tallahassee today to testify on a different bill.
The computer coding proposal easily passed the Florida Senate last week. A similar measure awaits consideration on the House floor.
Margate Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring, a former Yahoo executive, has spearhead the legislation. He argues that technology is a "basic skill" students need to have and that allowing computer coding as a foreign language would better prepare students for high-demand careers.
On the Senate floor, Ring said he believed a person who knows computer coding is "bilingual."
But the proposal has many opponents, ranging from civil rights organizations to some school and district administrators, like Carvalho.
"If you're going to consider computer science as a language -- a foreign language, not just a language -- why not consider music? You can write it, you can read it, it's been around for millenia, right?" Carvalho quipped. "They're different forms of communication and expression, but they're not interchangeable."