Not every family can afford a computer to cede to their child(ren) for tinkering.
> In reality computer science classes in high school will just be an excuse for kids who are already programming to pad out their schedule. Maybe they take comp.sci classes instead of calculus or AP history.
IME, those who are programming on their own wouldn't seem to be just padding their schedule (frankly, the college course I did take my senior year for programming was almost a waste of my time since by the end of the semester we had gotten to for loops…) and are more likely to have an interest in the other sciences and take those AP courses.
My high school didn't have AP-branded courses before I graduated (and when I took the AP tests, we were slightly different, but at a comparable pacing), but I'd be more likely to believe that rumors of difficulty (Advanced Bio for my high school) scare more students away from the advanced courses than "but I can just take this easier class" from those who even consider AP classes in the first place.
I got transfer credit, so it gave me an extra elective in college.
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