Later when Macs and PCs hit schools, the level of interest kids had in programming or even understanding computers dropped so we ended up with a generation of kids who couldn't do much more than type up a letter in MS Word compared with my generation which were writing hand coded assembly and building robots....Typing up letters and doing spreadsheets is not computing but seems to be all the schools are prepared to teach.
I think you've struck on a set of symptoms of an underlying problem. Like most Slashdotters, you were largely self-taught. Exposure to the 8-bit machines gave you a starting point, and you took the initiative from there.
I'd argue that we've ended up with two generations of kids who only know cursory word processing and web browsing skills. Would they have been apt to code if the only available computer to use required assembler? I doubt a statistically relevant number of them would have, at least not without direct education on the matter - and it is on that front where we find the root cause.
Yesterday, I spoke with my high school English teacher. One of the best my high school had. She left teaching about three years ago, and in our discussions, she stated that while she would like to go back to subbing or being a TA or full-time tutoring, she did not want to return to her own classroom again. In the last 2-3 years of her time teaching there, she indicated that there was a noticeable shift in student attitudes. There were always a number of students (a majority, at times) who wouldn't get excited about Shakespeare no matter what she did, but she at least attempted to make the projects more enjoyable than simple Q&A worksheets (newspaper production, video projects, etc.). By time she left, it was fighting tooth and nail to get anyone to even go along with the classwork. I'd be hard pressed to find a meaningful number of current high school teachers who would disagree.
Now, let's bring it back to computer class. The nature of "teaching computer" means that there is a need for one of precisely two types of people: teachers who understand computers, or CS/IT folks who know how to teach. Considering the amount of education requirements and "don't get us sued" workshops required for becoming a teacher, as well as the endless grading and meager salaries, to add "technologically adept" to the mix would be incredibly difficult. My English teacher had a bit of an advantage in that the English language hasn't changed in the past 20 years, and neither have most of the classical works we read. What language do you teach in school today? Do you start with the generally-irrelevant-but-easy-to-teach VB? Do you turn it into The Hunger Games and start with Perl? What happens when the Eclipse-based curriculum you've refined over the past 2-3 years needs to start from scratch because the superintended wants to look all modern to parents and thus informs you that you need to start teaching Comp Sci on iPads and the Win7 desktops will be gone by the summer? Even at that, how much time do you devote to programming when the students don't have a meaningful grasp of the file structure? Is it wisdom to assume programming is more important than using Word, even though there is a far more immediate use case for Word than there is for being able to program PHP? What about the IT side of things - if coding is a good thing to teach them, then isn't it also a good thing to teach how to do things like install simple PHP scripts like Wordpress on a LAMP stack and then secure them? All of this is subject to the question of shelf life on top of it.
All of this applies in reverse to the programmer or sysadmin who decides to go into teaching. The programmer now gets to create lesson plans and grade papers (which gets super tedious in the case of grading source code and/or checking IT projects), deal with classroom control, attend continuing education (which has very little to do with what is actually being taught), placate parents informing them that they are not doing their job right because they are training their snowflakes to use the CLI (which is totally irrelevant now because they don't use such ancient things on their Galaxy S8), the superintendent has got a crosshair on their back because they decided to let the students work on a set of VMs as root and no amount of "it's an isolated subnet that cannot communicate with the internal LAN and IT has already signed off on this being configured correctly" will calm him down if there's a data breach, and if it's not a way to post selfies on Snapchat, the kids don't care anyway. To deal with all of this for what is likely a five figure pay cut? That's a tough sell.
The result of both of these scenarios is that we commonly end up with "Word and The Internet" computer classes because teachers commonly don't know much more than that, and it's not uncommon for a teacher who's out of work to apply for 'an opening', even if their teaching certificate says "math".
I'm certain you've heard the cliche "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." If there is any truth to be had of this statement, then those who are teaching computer are going to do so at a level that is more readily obvious than may be in other topics. There is no concern of poor security in English class.