Crazy for Mandarin

Over on his new blog, Dave Porter is making the case for a comprehensive plan to teach Mandarin Chinese to Oregon's children. From his "Letter to Oregon Progressives":

The most significant and substantial action the Oregon 74th Legislative Assembly could take for world peace is to fund dramatic increases in Mandarin language and study abroad in China programs for Oregon students. It should be on every progressive’s legislative agenda. ...

There are many contemporary crises (the Middle East, North Korea, terrorists, pandemics) but the central strategic and security issue of the 21st century will be the emergence of China as a world power and how the United States and China relate to each other. If these two great powers can get along, many other problems are solvable. If not, nuclear war and societal chaos are not impossible. ...

Currently, less that 1% of Oregon high school graduates have had two years or more of Mandarin (not enough to be proficient). During the 2003-04 academic year, 1,877 Oregon University System students studied abroad (2.25% of the total enrollment of 79,558). Of those 35 studied abroad in China (1.86% of students studying abroad and 0.044% of total enrollment). These are not the statistics of a student generation prepared for the 21st century or to wisely manage Sino-US relations.

Read the rest. Dig in to Dave's blog. Discuss over there.


connect with blueoregon