Eugene Register-Guard in favor of Mandarin immersion
Interesting that Eugene had the first Japanese immersion program in the nation. And surprising that they haven’t added one in a generation. – Beth
Good time to add Chinese
Eugene School District plans Mandarin program
Dec. 28, 2016
The Eugene School District was a pioneer in providing language-immersion programs to public school students, but hasn’t added to its current set of offerings — French, Japanese and Spanish — in a generation. That will change if the Eugene School Board approves a proposal to launch a Mandarin Chinese program next year. The board should move ahead. A fourth language immersion program would correct an imbalance in the district, and there has never been a better time to add instruction in Mandarin.
A decade ago, the number of Mandarin language immersion programs in public school districts could be counted on one hand, according to Matthew Bacon, assistant director for the Department of Dual Languages in the Portland School District. One of these districts is in Portland, which started its first Mandarin school in 1998 and is preparing to open a third.
Today, Bacon says, more than 200 Mandarin immersion programs have opened in public schools nationwide — a “virtual tidal wave” that has brought with it an increase in the quantity and quality of teaching materials. At the same time, teacher training programs in Oregon and elsewhere have geared up to meet the demand for teachers who are proficient in Mandarin. The Eugene district was a trailblazer with its existing language immersion programs, and the Japanese program was the nation’s first — but with Mandarin, Eugene can benefit from others’ experience.
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