HB 3628, which authorizes the Superintendent of Public Instruction to contract for Chinese and other foreign language teachers, passed unanimously out of the House Education Committee and will go to the House floor with a do pass recommendation. The bill was amended to make it more general, rather than just applying to Chinese language teachers.
Three cosponsors spoke at the hearing: Representative Brian Clem, Representative Jules Bailey, and Senator Chris Edwards. I testified as did Victoria Yu of the Asian Education Foundation. (One photo shows Rep. Bailey, Senator Edwards, Victoria Yu, and Representative Clem, l to r.)
Senator Chris Edwards testified, in part:
…. There are 1.4 billion people in the country of China, and it is one of the world’s, if not the world’s, fastest growing economy. And projections are that it will be larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2030, and, of course, with vast cultural differences between our country and their country. There is no doubt in my mind that given their rising status and the geopolitical climate that the bilateral relationship between the US and China will be one of, if not the most, important relationships in the world in the coming decades…
I have made the following very rough guesses as to what our current K-12 public education system in Oregon is producing. I would welcome better data. I have probably been a bit generous. Data does not include heritage (native) speakers. Percentages are of graduating class of 2010.
35,000 or 100.00% Students graduating (regular diploma) in class of 2010
20 or .06% Fluent enough to attend a Chinese university
100 or .28% 2 years or more of high school Mandarin, but not fluent
150 or .42% 1 year of high school Mandarin, no more
200 or .57% Some elementary or middle school Mandarin, no more
470 or 1.34% Total above
0 – High school students who studied Mandarin online
0 – High school students who spent four or more summer weeks in China
0 – High school students who spent academic year abroad in China
These numbers are inadequate. Passing HB 3628 would certainly help by permitting the Superintendent of Public Instruction to contract for additional Mandarin teachers for classrooms around Oregon.