Senate committee says computer programming is foreign language

Published: Jan. 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2014 at 11:47 PM EDT
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Republican Sen. Mike Wilson
Republican Sen. Mike Wilson

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - High school students would be able to count computer programming classes toward their foreign language requirements under a bill that a Senate committee approved Thursday.

Sen. Robert Givens, R-Greensburg, said his legislation would get more students involved in computer courses and provide them with the training needed for high-paying jobs.

Those jobs, often paying $75,000 or more a year, currently go unfilled because there aren't enough qualified applicants, Senate Education Committee members said before they voted 10-1 in favor of the bill.

"That tells us we need to start targeting children earlier," said Republican Sen. Mike Wilson, the committee's chairman. "Bill Gates himself talked about it being a high school teacher that taught him how to write (computer) code. And look where he ended up."

Givens said Kentucky's course requirements don't allow for many electives, such as computer programming. Foreign language is required, so students could take a computer class as an alternative, he said.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

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