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Chinese Language Programs Revive "Red Scare" Hysteria

Will learning from a native speaking Chinese teacher turn American students into subversive commies? Probably not. (But it might get them a job.)


Chinese President Hu Jintao's making his first state visit to the Obama White House at a time when the American economy—and American schools—are feeling left behind by the growing economic superpower. Now a story out of Columbus, Ohio, about the Gahanna-Jefferson School District's Chinese language and culture program spotlights the revival of "Red Scare" fears—all because China's helping pay part of the program's cost.

At a time when many American school districts are busy cutting foreign language offerings, the Chinese government is contributing $30,000 to Gahanna-Jefferson's four-year-old program. It's a fraction of the cost—the U.S. government is ponying up the rest of the $1 million needed to run the initiative, which teaches Mandarin and Chinese culture to 350 students.

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