Coding To Replace History And Geography In Public Schools?

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In response to pressure from major tech companies such as Facebook and Google, lawmakers around the world are removing History, geography, and other familiar subjects from their public school curriculum. And the United States may be planning to do the same.

In response to pressure from major tech companies such as Facebook and Google, lawmakers around the world are removing History, geography, and other familiar subjects from their public school curriculum.

In their place countries - such as England and Australia - are beginning to offer coding classes instead.

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On September 18  of this year the Australian Ministry of Education officially endorsed the replacement of geography and history curriculums with a coding program that would see Australian students beginning to learn programing languages at just five years of age.

Former Australian Secretary of Education Christopher Pyne said in a statement to the press following the decision,

"High quality school STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] education is critically important for Australia's productivity and economic well-being, both now and into the future”.

Australia is not the first nation to equate increased computer literacy with a brighter economic future. England last year gave the axe to several of it’s older public school programs in favor of teaching computer coding to it’s students. Former English Secretary for Education Michael Grove said of the changes,

“Our new curriculum teaches children computer science, information technology and digital literacy: teaching them how to code,and how to create their own programs; not just how to work a computer, but how a computer works and how to make it work for you."

England, like Australia, will begin teaching it’s students coding languages at just five years old in a program that follows them all the way to high school graduation.

The engines driving these changes  are not just educationally minded politicians.

The familiar giants of the tech world (namely Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter) have been crying out for increased computer science education for years.

These companies claim that the current educational climate is not producing enough computer-savvy employees to support their massive organizations. And now, with England and Australia making major curriculum changes to appease the demands of these very powerful corporations, the question becomes whether or not the US will do the same.

Opinions on this matter in the United States are mixed at best, but one of the largest proponents of a curriculum change for the Land of The Free is computer-science advocacy site: Code.org.

Code.org is - in it’s own words,

“A non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. We believe computer science should be part of core curriculum, alongside other courses such as biology, chemistry or algebra”.

Code.org has sought to realize their vision by creating educational programs for teachers to use independently of school curriculums if they choose. These include the “Hour of Code” program and a “Make Your First Program” tutorial featuring Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg is not the only notable personality to throw his considerable weight behind Code.org’s agenda. Former President Bill Clinton, Former Vice President Al Gore, Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates, and celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher have all voiced their strong support for this organization's ambitions.

Code.org has positioned itself as a public awareness organization with no politcial machinations since their inception in 2013. But this year they may be taking things to the next level.

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According to poltical tracking website OpenSecrets.org, in 2015 Change.org spent $10,000 to acquire the services of Washington Partners. WP is a DC based lobbying and advocacy firm that has a reputation for representing the interests of educationally inclined organizations to legislators in the nation’s capital.

The exact nature of the relationship between Code.org and Washington Partners has not yet been released. But if Code.org, and its army of well-known spokespeople, are beginning to sure up their position on The Hill, than it may not be long before The United States becomes the most recent nation to abandon it’s long-standing classes and curriculum in favor of a more computer science heavy program.

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