Representative Brian Clem presented HB 3628 to the House
Interim Education Committee. The bill, in part, currently reads (here):
SECTION 1. For the purpose of ensuring that the instruction of the Mandarin dialect of the Chinese language is available to the public school students of this state, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is authorized to enter into a contract with an institution that:
(1) Is public and nonprofit; and
(2) Specializes in teaching the Mandarin dialect of the Chinese language.
Representative Clem explained that the bill originated with the nine legislators that went on a Fall 2009 trade delegation to China. He said:
While in China we had an opportunity to visit with the Ministry of Education. And they talked about a thing that they do, that some schools in Oregon are taking advantage of already, where they will actually pay the salaries of Mandarin instructors for the school district, if the school district is interested, and if they will provide housing and transportation. That they would make available a teacher who has taught in their school system for three years to come and live in the US and teach Mandarin, rather than the school district having to find someone and pay their salary.
More can be heard on the audio recording of
the hearing at http://www.leg.state.or.us/
The bill will go before the February Special Legislative Session. The legislators have been talking to their local school districts about this offer. They hope to bring 15 additional Mandarin teachers to Oregon by the 2010-11 school year.