Testimony of Dave Porter
Before Oregon Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education
Chairman Galizio and members of the Committee, my name is Dave Porter. I am retired, live in Southeast Portland and represent only myself. The following is testimony on SB 5515 pleading to add provisions to that bill so that the Oregon University System will increase the percentage of undergraduates studying Mandarin to 4% and will send 500 students per year to study abroad in China.
The issue is China, and are we preparing today’s students in Oregon for the challenges and opportunities that a rising China will pose over their lifetimes? And the question is not just are we giving educational opportunities to individual students, but are we preparing the next generations, as groups, to have the language and cultural skills that can make our state, and our nation, successful in the future international system. The answer is: no, not at all. Neither our public K-12 educational system nor our public colleges and universities are producing Mandarin proficient and Chinese-culture-knowledgeable students in significant numbers.
Consider the large scale of the
challenges: Columnist Thomas Friedman wrote “that when the history of this era
is written, the trend that historians will cite as the most significant will
not be 9/11 and the
U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It will be the rise of China and India.” Columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote “I’m a believer in China, and I think it will end this century as the most important country in the world.” Scholar Jeffrey Sachs advised Americans to prepare for a world where by the year 2050 China's economy could be 75% bigger than our own. China will be the most important, pivotal security relationship for the US in the 21st century. War, peace, prosperity, pandemics, clean energy, terrorism, and global warming all turn on US-China relations. What is at stake for us and our children is simply too big to continue to avoid.
Put those thoughts on the future
We must begin to change what we are
We will need to do much more in the
future. I dream of an
Thank you for your consideration.
This testimony was submitted. Because of time constraints, I only spoke very briefly before the subcommittee.