From the North Carolina newpaper The News and Observer article "Courses may speed the spred of Chinese: Shifting global economy draws more students to the complex language:"
Levi Harder's friends think he's crazy. After all, learning a foreign language is difficult enough. But Chinese? The sophomore at Enloe High School in Raleigh says he's only thinking ahead: Levi sees himself as an engineer, but he's also betting that China will be a part of that future. "China is becoming a very important country," the 15-year-old said.
North Carolina's educators agree, which is why the state is pioneering online instruction in Chinese so it will no longer be the most exotic of foreign languages taught in the state's schools. Numerous questions about the class must still be resolved, including the best way to hold useful conversations as part of an online class. Its scheduled debut this fall will be small, with maybe two dozen students.
But state officials hope the online courses eventually will open Chinese to more students. Underwritten by the federal government with $300,000 over three years, the program could eventually be offered to other states that want to boost Chinese language classes.
Currently, Enloe and just a few high schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district offer the language in North Carolina. Last year, only about 140 high school students in Wake and Charlotte took Chinese. Many were children of Chinese parents.