Obama's Inauguration Speech Gave Us Hope on Mandarin Programs in the US


What an exciting and moving day it was?!  We set up a projector in the office streaming from Comcast via Slingbox.  Technologies these days! Yes. He delivered a cautious but hopeful message, which is exactly what the US needs.  In my previous post, I talked about noticing schools not implementing Chinese/Mandarin programs due to funding.  But, President Obama's speech gave us hope.  In his speech, he stated some challenges that we face ... "our schools fail too many." The new $120 billion allocated for education programs, as outlined in an economic-stimulus package released on Jan 15th, 2009, will help not only with basic fiscal budgets but also making sure that $14 billion is allocated to disadvantageous schools through Title I.  Other projects such Education Equality Project also hopes to bridge critical skill gap with the Latino-and-African American students.  In Chicago Public Schools, Robert Davis has been championing the idea that Mandarin/Chinese is an important skill for the future.  So far, their programs are a stunning success given the number of students participating in the Chinese program, with reportedly 7,000 students in 2008.  Their budget was an issue in 2008.  We hope that the new stimulus package will allow them to carry on implementing Mandarin programs.  Other charter schools share the same view, such as Academy of the Pacific Rim.  I visited their program in MA and spoke with some of the students there.  The student-mix there is majority African-American.  Chinese language and culture acquisition is a major focus.  When I talked to the students, they truly believed that Mandarin is a critical skill for the future.  And, I think so.  It will differentiate them from other highly-skilled professionals as the world becomes more global. Let's hope and follow President Obama's plan and start foundation for a stronger America.

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