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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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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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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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