German, Spanish? Nope, lawmakers want your kids to learn new language

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OLYMPIA — French. Japanese. German. And computer science?

A bill proposed by two Washington state legislators would allow computer science classes to count as a foreign language requirement for in-state college admissions.

House Bill 1445, sponsored by state representatives Chris Reykdal (D-Snohomish) and Chad Magendanz (R-Issaquah), would make it so studying computer sciences in high school would satisfy world language college admission requirements, currently two years for all in-state schools.

According to, the bill’s sponsors wonder if putting more of an emphasis on computer science studies could help students as they enter into the workforce. Workers in computer science make an average of $49 an hour, or $102,190 per year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Computer science jobs often go unfilled for some time because of lack of qualified applicants.

A similar bill is also being proposed in the Kentucky legislature.

Magendanz, the bill’s co-sponsor, majored in computer science at Cornell University, and worked full-time for Microsoft, receiving over 20 patent awards. He told Arsthenica he hopes the bill starts a conversation about the merit of high school language education.

“We have a mismatch between our priorities — claiming that world languages are an important requirement for going to college — but there’s a drive to make that as a graduation requirement and yet there’s not a commitment at K-12 or higher education to make that happen,” Magendanz told Arthenica.


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