Two Codes Kids Need to Know: Computer Science and the U.S. Constitution
Two Codes Kids Need to Know: Computer Science and the U.S. ConstitutionAbby Jacobs, Senior Director, Communications, College Board
In his recent New York Times column, “ Tom Friedman challenges and discusses the notion raised by College Board’s Chief of Global Policy and External Relations Stefanie Sanford, and CEO David Coleman that the two most important things a student can study to be successful in college—and life—are computer science and the U.S. Constitution.
Friedman probes further and elicits some reasoning behind this “two code” principle. Sanford and Coleman go on to explain:
“If you want to be an empowered citizen in our democracy — able to not only navigate society and its institutions but also to improve and shape them, and not just be shaped by them — you need to know how the code of the U.S. Constitution works. And if you want to be an empowered and adaptive worker or artist or writer or scientist or teacher — and be able to shape the world around you, and not just be shaped by it — you need to know how computers work and how to shape them.”
This notion is put to the test, say Coleman and Sanford, when students engage in opportunities like AP Computer Science Principles, AP U.S. History, AP Government and Politics, and when they sit for the SAT.
Friedman goes on: “Besides revamping the government course and the exam on that subject, Coleman and Sanford in 2014 made a staple of the regular SAT a long reading comprehension passage from one of the founding documents, such as the Constitution, or another important piece of democracy, like a great presidential speech. That said to students and teachers something the SAT had never dared say before: Some content is disproportionately more powerful and important, and if you prepare for it you will be rewarded on the SAT.”
Friedman closes with a mantra from Stefanie Sanford, summarizing the real power of the “two codes”: “Knowledge, skills and agency’ — kids learn things, learn how to do things and then discover that they can use all that to make a difference in the world.”
Read the full column by Tom Friedman .