New Arkansas bill proposed to classify computer science as foreign language

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – HB 1711 was filed late last week, and it hopes to add computer science as a foreign language credit for Arkansas high schools. 

Dr. Vincent Price is a language teacher at Mills High School and he said initially he understood what the bill was trying to do.

“Every rationale I have for the actual foreign language additional four languages could probably argued for the computer language,” Price said.

Howard Cameron is a science teacher at Mills and he also understands computer programming being seen as a separate language.

“I can see where some people could perceive it as a foreign language because it does have its own syntax,” Cameron said.

The bill would allow for programming, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A, and Computer Science Standard Level and Higher Level to be counted as a foreign language. 

Dr. Price believes a true foreign language is an exchange, “So the foreign language is going to be communication or some kind of information exchange between two to living beings.”

Cameron thinks it’s hard to classify many computer sciences.

“It isn’t pure math, but it’s enough math to be a math credit and I do believe that it’s not a pure science but it use scientific method and logic so I can see where I could be a science credit,” Cameron said.

He also says that it’s hard for him to consider things like coding a foreign language because many of the computer languages are written in English, but he does believe that a foreign language should be taught to high schoolers because technology has brought the world closer together, “I do believe that foreign language is very critical because we’re on a global market.”

Both Dr. Price and Cameron, despite seeing that point of view,  don’t think computer sciences should be classified as a foreign language.

Dr. Price said, “Are use the word language but when you just break down these things I think through it all then it is fall short.”

Cameron said, “I still think that the other languages are higher priority for a foreign language credit.”

The bill has been assigned to the House Public Education committee. 

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