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Java and Python are both good languages. Python is more of a natural language, more like you speak, than Java so the courses can spend more time on programming concepts and less time on the particulars of the language that's being used.
To expand on rsmith6559's answer. To begin coding in Java you really need to already be familiar with several concepts that are best introduced late in a beginning programming class or in a intermediate class.
Namely to make any program run in Java you first need to create a class and main method for that class. If you are new to programming then you won't know what a class or method is or why you would need to create one or how to create one. And these concepts are somewhat intermediate so they best taught later.
Java is somewhat unusual among computer languages in it's requirements for a class and method to be created just to compile a simple program. Some schools do teach Java as an intro class but students are required to use programming templates created by the instructor without students knowing why you need them or what they mean until later on in the course.
Using a language like python avoids this problem while teaching a mainstream and widely used language.