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Do All American Schools Need to Teach Chinese?

Given the growth of the Chinese economy, Sweden's considering adding Chinese classes to grade schools. Should we be doing the same?

Given the phenomenal growth of the Chinese economy, more American schools are adding Mandarin Chinese to their foreign language offerings. But no Western nation is taking Chinese language education more seriously than Sweden. Time reports that the Swedish education minister Jan Björklund recently announced plans to add Chinese to their nationwide grade school curriculum. According to Björklund, learning Chinese is going to "be much more important, from an economic perspective" than the traditionally offered European languages. Do American schools need to do the same to stay economically competitive?

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Do We Need to Ditch High-Stakes Testing to Compete with China?

Forget memorization and do-or-die, high-stakes testing. China's ditching those old schooling methods. Just as we're using them more than ever.

At a time when international test results—like last year's PISA data—seem to indicate that American students are falling behind their Chinese counterparts, we're feeling the pressure to adopt a stereotypically Chinese method of educating kids: lots of rote memorization of facts and hardcore standardized testing. But in a recent interview with Education News, Minxuan Zhang, the Director-General of the Center for International Education Studies, Ministry of Education, China, and National Project Manager of PISA, says that the Chinese vision of education no longer includes those kinds of rigid practices. Instead, China's moving away from rote learning.

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Food Studies: An Immigrant Food Field Trip

Why are most Indian restaurants run by Pakistani families? Why is Chinese food cheaper than Japanese? An edible exploration of ethnic food in America.

Food Studies features the voices of volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world. Don't miss Josh's last post, on the first grow-your-own pizza of spring.

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Getting Under My Skin: When "Tiger Mother" Meets "Race to Nowhere"

Frustrated kids and conflicting messages about education are leaving parents more confused than ever about how to handle our "achievement culture".


My 15-year-old daughter stopped talking to me last week. During a long car ride I suggested quizzing her on literature vocab words for her upcoming mid-terms, knowing that concentrated study time at home needs to go to her four AP classes. She reluctantly pulled out the flash cards she made for the test, and I asked her, “What is ‘arduous’?” “Um, is it like when, sort of, you…uggh…I don’t know.”

I lost it. “‘Arduous’—you take all these hard classes and you don’t know ‘arduous’? Are you kidding me?” Then it got worse, and as usual, I ended with, “I’m blocking your Facebook.”

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Hu Jintao Surveys Evidence of China's Soft Power at Chicago High School

Hu Jintao seemed totally impressed with the Chinese language classes at Chicago's Walter Payton Prep.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5RWV0zQjNI

Students at Chicago's innovative math, science, and foreign language high school, Walter Payton Prep, welcomed a special visitor on Friday—Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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