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Take part in a doctoral candidate’s survey on why parents choose Mandarin Immersion

September 29, 2015

This is great research to support and I highly encourage families to take Ted’s survey (it took me all of 6 minutes.) Send it out to your schools, put it in your school newsletter and on your blog, get the word out. We need more data about family motivation’s and here we’ve got a motivated young Ph.D. student to do the work for us!



Hello Parents!

My name is Edward Watson and I am a graduate student in the Sociology PhD program at University of California – Irvine.  My research is focusing on parental motivations for Mandarin Immersion programs.  I left for China in 2006 and ended up staying over four years, having been back twice on visits.  I did not know any Chinese upon arrival, but through continued hard work, I have achieved near fluency.  My experience with the Chinese language and Its culture has changed my life for the better, giving me the desire to use what I have learned to act as a resource for other students and families.

I am happy to see the recent increase in the popularity of Mandarin Immersion programs.  I am curious as to why parents are choosing this style of education for their children, and whether the reasons behind this choice differ between parents’ experiences and backgrounds.  In order to better examine the rising demand for Mandarin programs, I am asking parents to complete an anonymous online survey by clicking on the link at the bottom.  The 25-question survey should not take more than 15 minutes to complete and your answers will provide substantial data for this project.  My ultimate goal is to strengthen the educational and cultural bonds between America and China while increasing an understanding for our global society.  Whenever possible, I would also like to offer a small compensation provided through my email as a token of my appreciation.

Thanks so much for you time!

Edward Watson

Obama wants 1 million Mandarin speakers by 2020

September 29, 2015

Note the bit about creating a curriculum. Presumably it’s not focused on K-12 immersion but rather high school, but even so, perhaps some will trickle down to our Mandarin immersion programs. – Beth


When U.S. President Barack Obama announced the 100,000 Strong Initiative in November 2009, setting the goal of sending 100,000 American students to study in China by 2014, it seemed like a lofty aspiration. In the 2008-2009 academic year, only 13,674 American students studied abroad in China. But that number rose steadily over the next five years, with help from private donations and Chinese government scholarships, and in July 2014 Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the goal had been met.

Now the American president’s back with an even bigger goal and one closer to home. On Sept. 25, in a joint press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is wrapping up an official state visit, Obama announced the launch of “1 Million Strong,” an initiative that aims to bring the total number of stateside learners of Mandarin Chinese to 1 million by the year 2020. “If our countries are going to do more together around the world,” said Obama, “then speaking each other’s language, truly understanding each other, is a good place to start.”

Please read more here.

Interview with LA United Board president touched on Mandarin immersion issues

September 28, 2015

Interview: Schoolyard Scuffles

Posted September 16, 2015 by The Argonaut in News

LAUSD Board of Education President Steve Zimmer on the winner-take-all attitudes that are hurting public schools

Steve Zimmer, who represents the Westside on the LAUSD board and is now its president, says the California Charter Schools Association has taken “a combat approach” to occupying space on public school campuses
Steve Zimmer, who represents the Westside on the LAUSD board
and is now its president, says the California Charter Schools
Association has taken “a combat approach” to occupying space
on public school campuses
The new Common Core state standardized test results are in, and they don’t look great for LAUSD.

Nearly a year after the departure of Supt. John Deasy, the school district still awaits new permanent executive leadership.

Traditional public school enrollment is declining as charter schools pick up more students and move into empty LAUSD classrooms, while specialized education programs designed to keep families from leaving the district are encountering resistance from neighborhood schools.

Steve Zimmer, the longtime Westside LAUSD board member who became president of the board in July, has a lot on his plate.

A former high school teacher and counselor, Zimmer says he hopes to chart a different course than past LAUSD board presidents — one less-defined by political friction and internal division. But he does not mince words about his dislike of the California Charter Schools Association, whose independent expenditure committee spent heavily against him during his 2013 reelection bid, a race that drew national attention due to the involvement of billionaire Eli Broad and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Zimmer takes personal responsibility for the failure in June of his plan to transfer the popular Mandarin Chinese dual language immersion program from Broadway Elementary School in Venice to a new, $30-million facility on the Mark Twain Middle School campus in Mar Vista. Believing that most stakeholders would accept the program as part of a larger vision for a Westside language education pipeline was a critical mistake, he says.

“I was broadcasting a perspective that was shared by a very few,” Zimmer says. “I vastly overestimated the reservoir of goodwill, which is completely dry on the Westside. And there is not a first assumption of goodwill.”

Please read more here.

Bellevue, Wash. Mandarin immersion school gets stunning new campus

September 23, 2015

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I love it that the school’s name is 景美, which means Beautiful View in Mandarin. And of course the city it’s located in, Bellevue, also means Beautiful View.




A new “beautiful view” — Jing Mei School starts off the school year in a new space

Jing Mei, the only public Mandarin Dual Language School in the state that follows a two-way model opened up for the school year in its relocated home at 12635 SE 56th St., Bellevue.

The name, which means “beautiful view” in Mandarin, was recommended by the school community when it was first established.

The school is led by Principal Vivian Tam. Student enrollment in the classes is balanced between native Mandarin speakers and students who speak other languages such as English, Spanish, and Hindu. English and Mandarin are used to teach the curriculum throughout the day.

Jing Mei started off the school year with a brand new campus. The school is sectioned off into different areas for the varying grades by elements: 木, 火, 土, 金, 水. Literally, this translates to wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—the basics of the Chinese five elements theory.

These characters are spread across the campus on engraved signboards on wooden supports.

The school is split with American families, and new Chinese families. New students in kindergarten begin with a requisite 90 percent Mandarin immersion.

Please read more here.

Federal officials tour Mass. Mandarin immersion K – 12 school

September 17, 2015

Federal official tours addition at Chinese Immersion school
HADLEY — Lian Duan, a middle school math teacher at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, has a large classroom on the fourth floor of the school’s new addition — but it wasn’t always that way.

Her situation when she started teaching for the school six years ago was very different.

“So we started out with no classrooms,” Duan said Thursday at the school. “The first year we started the middle school we actually went outside. They rented a tent for us, so we had classes outside in the field underneath a tent for a few months.”

That situation has changed in a large part due to a $10.6 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Community Facility Direct Loan Program, which funded the school’s latest expansion.

The Chinese Immersion School bought its current building in 2009 for $2.35 million, also with the help of a USDA assistance program. In 2013, the school planned its expansion, and construction began in 2014. The addition adds 15 classrooms and 38,000 square feet to the school.
In a visit to the school Thursday, USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah toured the facilities, which will be able to accommodate 584 students by the year 2018, according to a statement from the Rural Development office. The school is poised to become the first K-12 Chinese immersion school in the United States when it adds a 12th-grade class in September 2016. Currently the school only serves students through 11th grade.

“I don’t think people would expect that in small-town USA, in small-town rural America, we are at the cutting edge of innovation in the global economy,” Mensah said Thursday.

She said most people don’t think of the USDA as an agency that helps to fund schools — but, $7 billion has gone into the program that benefited the Chinese Immersion school. The money pays for long-term projects that benefit rural areas, she said.

Please read more here.

Pomona, Calif. launched Mandarin immersion program

September 13, 2015

Pomona Unified launches Mandarin-English language immersion class for kindergartners

Kindergarten teacher Jie Gao, right, helps Gabriella Carrillo, of Pomona, with her class work in the new English-Mandarin Dual-Language Immersion program at Pantera Elementary School in Diamond Bar, CA, Thursday, August 27, 2015. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
By Monica Rodriguez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Isabella San Martin, of Diamond Bar, works on her class work in the new English-Mandarin Dual-Language Immersion program at Pantera Elementary School in Diamond Bar, CA, Thursday, August 27, 2015. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
DIAMOND BAR >> Walk into Jie Gao’s classroom at Pantera Elementary School in Diamond Bar and it looks much like any other kindergarten classroom – decorated with pictures of colorful geometric shapes, fruits and animals.

But there’s something different about this class. The writing under the pictures and on the samples of students’ work is in Chinese characters.

Several weeks into kindergarten, the children count, sing and use words in Mandarin among themselves and at home.

For half of the school day Gao only uses Mandarin to speak with her students.

Please read more here.

We’re up to 198 Mandarin immersion programs nationwide

September 8, 2015

I’m giving a talk for parents tonight for the Friends of Mandarin Scholars. They’re the parent group for College Park Elementary School, the Mandarin immersion program in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco. Looking forward to it – I spoke at their Gala fundraiser in the spring and it was *quite* the party

I was updating my PowerPoint and have a nice new graph showing the rise of Mandarin immersion programs across the nation since 1981, when the Chinese American International School was founded in San Francisco.

We’re up to 198 programs nationwide. And I know of three more that are supposed to come online next year, though more will undoubtably pop up as the year progresses.

Welcome all to a new school year, and more programs for our kids!

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