Opinion/Counter: Should Computer Science be a Required Course?


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YES by Mingcan & Stefan

Let us think about the case when your computer freezes, and the only thing you can do to fix it is shut down the computer and restart it, or you will go to the Apple store and pay them to fix your computer. If you take a mandatory computer science class, you will have basic knowledge of your computer and be able to fix it. 

When students learn basic computer science skills such as creating websites, using Excel, and learning the systems of computers, they gain useful skills and would save lots of time when they need to do work related to statistics, website creation, and film editing. Furthermore, living in a technological age, computer science is one of the biggest job markets in the world and it will become more and more popular in the future. Also, students who majored in computer science are able to receive average salaries of around $87,530 right outside of college published by Forbes. Compared with other students’ average salaries of $55,650 published by CNBC, students who learned computer science earned higher salaries. Last but not least, high school students are mandatorily studying biology and scientific courses in order to understand the biological world, they also need to learn computer science in order to follow technological improvement.

Instead of those benefits listed above, the against group argues that Computer Science is not useful. Nevertheless, if you learn about when you need to use it and not just the basics then it can be used to automate and make tasks quicker to do in applications like excel and spreadsheets. Another reason that it is useful is that it develops better problem solving, and will help with math problems. Dr. Andrew Molnar a professor at Marlborough High School “cognitive computing means that the individual is an ‘information Processor’” Another argument that can be made is that Computer Science takes a lot of time to complete the assignments. One way that this can be fixed is that there is no homework, just class assignments. Also half of coding is figuring out what you need to search up because the code is already written for the assignment or a variation of the assignment. Also if it were made mandatory schools would find a way to fit in fairly. Even though this isn’t in high school, middle schoolers are currently learning some basic computer science with Luisa Levine, Middle and Upper School STEAM Teacher. One may argue that it would be harder for a student with learning disabilities, which it would be harder for them. But the school would have already thought of that and they would accommodate them like they sometimes do for other classes, so that it would be easier for them.

NO by Xan & Elle

There is no reason for computer science classes to become mandatory. Let us begin with the most obvious point, which lies in the subject’s name. Computer Science requires a computer, something that not everyone has access to. We (most of the people reading this, as well as our opposition) are writing this argument from a place of privilege. Most of the students that attend Friends Select can afford a computer and those who can’t can borrow one from the school. But that’s not the case for students at all schools. A lot of people can’t afford computers. Prices can range from $300 to $3000 and that’s just laptops. And many kids who do have computers have to share.  A 2013 study from the Pew Research Center found that 71% of students who reported that they had a computer they had access to were using a family computer. 

In addition, Computer Science is not a core subject, not in the way that all the other main classes that one might think of when they think of high school (math, science, English, history, etc.) are. These are all concepts that everyone will need to know, or at least have a basic understanding of, and computer science is not the same. Sure it would be nice to know, but nice isn’t necessary. And to learn computer science takes a lot of time and effort, part of why it’s such a high-paying field. Writing a simple program that makes an arrow draw a colored spiral can take up to an hour if one is just starting, and, as mentioned earlier, some students just don’t have that extra time to spend if they’re using a shared computer, or they have extracurriculars, etc. Everything about school schedules (assemblies, sports, practices, etc) is built around the assumed homework load and classes that students already have. Adding another class to it could severely complicate the way students learn by putting another hard class into their schedule.

Another point is that kids who are neurodivergent or have a unique learning style would have a harder time grasping the information. According to the University of Buffalo, people with learning disadvantages require extra assistance from staff, in order for them to succeed in this class. Following that statement, most schools do not have the funds to support those needs. Lindenwood University describes learning computer science as learning another language. “You can almost think of learning to program as equivalent to learning to speak & write in Chinese and Russian at the same time from scratch.” Foreign languages are often a difficult subject to learn for a student with neurodivergence.   

This is not to say that I don’t understand why people could see a computer science requirement as a good idea. Computer Science is not a very diverse field, both with gender and race, and to have it be a core subject would raise diversity in the field. But there are free programs that people can go to at local libraries, recreation centers, and even online that are made specifically for the groups of people that aren’t well-represented in Computer Science. To name a few: Girls Who Code, Girls develop it, Code bar (LGBT), Black girls code, Code 2040, All Star Code, and Code.org. Below are two graphs from Code.org showing how much change they have accomplished in just 11 years. 


Computer science classes are not a crucial part of the school curriculum, and therefore should not be taught as a mandatory subject. The coursework is dense and hard to learn as well as unnecessary. Not to mention, it requires a computer, which a large percentage of students don’t have access to. Even if the school managed to provide electronics there would likely not be enough to go around, and, seeing as computer science takes up a lot of time in the classroom, students wouldn’t be able to just switch and take turns using the program. All these factors combined with the fact that everyone’s schedules would need to be completely rearranged and the amount of difficulty that the class could pose for neurodivergent students makes it clear that adding computer science as a mandatory class, although nice in theory, is highly impractical.