Thursday, May 18, 2006

China matters

Will Stowe become the first public school in Vermont to offer Chinese to its students as a foreign language? Reporter Marina Knight takes a look at that question in this week's issue, which cropped up at Monday's school board meeting. While the Vermont Department of Education says two other private schools in the state offer Chinese, no other public schools do. That may change as China becomes an even bigger player in the global village.

Apparently, it's a growing trend in some parts of the country.This CBS station in Chicago, for example, reports that the city's mayor recently met with China's minister of education, in part, to talk about recruiting Chinese-language teachers for Chicago. There are 20 Chicago public schools with Chinese language programs, the news station reports, and interest in the program has "grown rapidly."

Elsewhere, the Associated Press reports that several schools in Kentucky are expanding Chinese language courses to "satisfy student and parent interest in non-Western languages." Though the number of students taking Chinese there remains small, the school district is "expanding Chinese offerings to at least three schools, compared with just one last year" and are "seeking federal funds to create an elementary Chinese curriculum."

The San Francisco Chronicle says that "the number of students taking the SAT Chinese subject test — offered in both simplified and traditional forms — has nearly doubled, from 2,865 in 1996 to 4,917 in 2004."

One of the incentives of offering Chinese at Stowe High, according to Lamoille schools superintendent Alice Angney, is that “If you are at all attuned to the future, Asian language is the language that’s going to be needed.” Here's a pretty good primer on that. Interesting.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I got caught

red-handed. You see, I haven't posted in nearly three weeks, and 802 Online's Cathy Resmer called me and others on it in one of her latest posts.

But, as Cathy points out, it's an interesting issue because many of these offending blogs are written by people affiliated with newspapers. I'd like to tell you that I've been so utterly swamped with my regular job in the last three weeks that I haven't had a spare moment to blog. But that's not true. I've been busy, yes, but so has Cathy, and she manages to post usually at least once each day. I think my hangup recently has been lack of a compelling topic to blog about. Pretty weak, I know.

In response to Cathy's question — Are readers not responding? — I'd have to forcibly answer: Sort of. Unfortunately, I'd be willing to bet the actual reader comments on the blog are outweighed by these: "Very nice! I found a place where you can make some nice extra cash secret shopping. Just go to the site below and put in your zip to see what's available in your area. I made over $900 last month having fun!" Sigh.

Anyway, Cathy's right: It's time for a conversation about how it's going. Stay tuned...