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NJ Mandarin parents speak up for proposed school

April 28, 2011
Charter school supporters defend proposed facilities
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Last updated: Thursday April 28, 2011, 11:34 AM
The Item of Millburn and Short Hills
of The Item

Township resident Yanbin Ma is among a group of area residents who have applied to start the Hanyu International Academy, one of two Mandarin Immersion charter schools that could accept Millburn students in fall 2012. The schools would charge no tuition, but would receive 90 percent of the average per-pupil costs from the local public school districts.

Ma, who is President of the MillburnShort Hills Chinese Association, said he and others were looking for options to teach their children Chinese. Beyond private school, weekend classes and short-lived after school programs, the choices they found were scarce.

“We want our kids to know Chinese, to read and write Chinese when they grow up,” he said.

Ma says the language offerings in the public schools are not commensurate with the growing Asian population. He said he and other Millburn parents gained the support of former language supervisor Adrienne Tator in pushing for Chinese education at the elementary and middle school levels, but the effort did not go further. The only time Chinese is taught is at the AP level in high school.

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