Teaching everyone coding basics doesn't imply that they will become coders as adults.
This is true but useless. Furthermore, it doesn't address the argument that technology is being pushed down kids' throats to the detriment of other more valuable skills.
I think in our technology focused world, coding is simply becoming another basic skill like reading and math.
That is an opinion, not a fact. And here is a prime example of a skill not being thought, separating opinions from facts.
And let's suppose for the sake of arguments that this is true. At least in this country, we are doing a shit-piss-poor jobs at teaching reading and basic mathematics to the general population. It doesn't matter squat if some wealth-to-do neighborhoods (like the one I live in) have excellent schools with kids capable of competing with any kid from, say, Finland. It doesn't matter because for each of those kids, there is a bunch of other kids who graduate from HS without knowing how to add fractions, or read news from different sources and synthesize an informed opinion.
So, in that background, does it really make any sense to pile more technology when we are fucking up teaching the basics???
And this very rhetorical question is made on the assumption that coding is nowadays as important as a general skill as reading and math. And that assumption is not accurate at all.
It should be an augmentation to the current set of basic skills taught,
But runs counter to your previous sentence saying that coding/technology is a basic skill like math or reading. It is either a basic skill or an augmentation of basic skills. I do not see how it can be both.
not meant to replace the important skills you mentioned like public speaking and investigation/questioning.
But that is pretty much the net effect. We cut on fine arts and history electives and we do a crappy job at teaching how to read and write. Without that, it is very hard, if not impossible to learn how to investigate and question, let alone see examples of public speaking or participate in such activities.
If we are already compromising teaching of those skills, what do you think happens we pile on yet another subject, one which requires a context for it to be meaningful (technology)? Something has to give, and it is typically the thing that is not new and shinny.
Besides, learning coding will teach kids ancillary skills as they go through the exercise, you don't learn in a vacuum.
I've been a teaching assistant for programming and business-related computer classes when I was in CS grad school. And sorry to say, but that statement above is not true. You need to have a grasp of basic skills before learning reasonable examples of how to use technology for solving problems. This is more important for kids.