Take action now. Say no to coding as a foreign language.
SB 468 by former Yahoo! exec Jeremy Ring, is coming up for a vote on the Senate floor tomorrow. Thanks to the Miami Herald for reporting that this vendor-driven bill is also an unpiloted statewide experiment.
Ring proudly boasts that if SB 468 passes it, “would be the first of its kind in the country… dozens of other states are looking at this.” Bill proponent, Motorola Solutions gave legislators $88,500 before the start of the 2016 legislative session.
SB 468 makes computer coding equal to foreign language studies. Florida already allows computer science to count toward high school science or math graduation requirements. Although SB 468 “forces” state universities to accept coding as a substitute for current foreign language admission requirements, the legislature has zero authority to make this demand.
Students will be left to figure out if any out-of-state schools in the nation will dismiss their own foreign language admissions requirements in favor of coding. Florida high school graduates who lack foreign language study will find themselves at an extreme disadvantage.
A quick search of the committee appearance cards shows that the Florida Technology Council, Associated Industries of Florida and Charter Schools USA faithfully pushed this bill through each stop.
The Florida Technology Council is part of the relatively new $4.8 million dollar Florida Agency for State Technology founded in 2014 thanks to a bill sponsored by Sen. Ring. Both the Agency and the Council fall under the Governor’s office. So what’s going on?
SB 468 is poor public policy. This is about floating model legislation, experimenting on Florida’s children, limiting their options and setting up a lucrative market expansion for vendors who clearly like to dole out cash.
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