If HB 3628 and SJR 50 turn out to be the first steps in developing significant K-12 Mandarin and study abroad in China programs for students across Oregon, then, in the long sweep of history, those two bills will be seen as the most significant accomplishments of the 2010 legislative session.
Both bills passed both legislative houses unanimously. Authorizing the Superintendent of Public Instruction to coordinate bringing Mandarin teachers from China may seem like a minor administrative matter. But the rise of China is a big deal, an historical game changer. Marking the beginning of a thoughtful, peaceful, self-interested response by Oregon, or the US as a whole, to that rise will be seen in the future as a significant historical event.
Consider Representative Dennis Richardson’s summing up floor statement: