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Portland, long a leader in Mandarin immersion, adding French

December 16, 2011

French immersion charter school gets green light to open in Portland next fall

Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 7:09 PM     Updated: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 7:32 PM
Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian By Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian 
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On a 4-3 vote, the Portland school board tonight approved the launch of a publicly funded French immersion elementary school in the city next fall.

Seattle and Eugene already have public schools that teach students by immersing them in French, but this will be a first for the Portland area. Portland Public Schools offers elementary students immersion programs in Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin and Japanese.

Three of seven school board members voted no on the French charter school, making this a rare divided vote for the elected Portland board. Ruth Adkins, Matt Morton and Martin Gonzalez cast the no votes.

Backers of Le Monde Public Charter School say they think they can operate a financially and instructionally sound school even though they they will not receive the $500,000 in federal start-up grants that have helped launch nearly every other charter school in Oregon.

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