I'm sure that sounds crazy but bare with me for a few paragraphs. Reading, writing, math – we use these skills everyday. It's hard to image surviving even a few hours without reading a headline or counting pocket change. And programming certainly is not in that same category.
But I think it's headed -- rapidly -- in that direction. Two hundred years ago, you would have had trouble making a case that everyone needed to be literate. It simply would not have been a pressing concern for most people. But the world has changed and now not being able to read would be like having some sort of terrible disability.
I think the same thing could happen with programming and, given the way technology compounds, it could happen more quickly than we might expect. Already, when sufficiently complicated, computers can seem magical. For example, how is it that I trust Netflix to recommend movies more than my close friends?
The fact is, for most of us technology has already outpaced our ability to understand how the hell it works. Maybe that's fine. Maybe you don't care how Amazon recommends books or Google ranks search results. But you don't even have a shot of understanding these questions unless you've learned some programming.
I think it's important to teach kids to code – maybe as important as reading, writing, and math. How else will they make any sense of the increasingly technological world they're sure to inherit?