Indeed, if we could just get kids at the high school level to understand the mechanics of coding, and some very basic rules of writing decent code, that is plenty sufficient for those who want to pursue CS to have a foundation. Overall I think a reasonable expectation would be for HS kids to learn mechanically how code works, such as how to use functions, pointers, objects, structures, and so on, to organize data. I don't think it's necessarily a requirement that HS kids be architecture experts, algorithm experts or to know the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow, African OR European.
It does no good to be an algorithm wonk if you don't know how to implement them in code. However, it does a lot of good to know how to write code that does stuff even if you aren't the best at optimizing your algorithms, when you are beginning to pursue an education in CS.