request the Superintendent of Public Instruction to encourage Chinese language study by promoting establishment of Confucius Classrooms in Oregon public schools and other nonprofit language programs dedicated to providing Oregon students and interested adults opportunities to learn the Chinese language.
Excerpts of comments made on the Senate floor about the bill follow:
…. Tomorrow’s entrepreneurs will be advantaged having had access to Chinese language learning opportunities. It is imperative that our education recognized that. That the State recognizes it. And so today I bring you SJR 50 which asks and encourages the Department of Education to begin work establishing such programs.
Senator Larry George:
…. But we need to have Americans who speak Chinese, who can go in and take our products and represent those to China…. The best way to support American producers is to find export markets like China, which has over a billion consumers, that we can access. And the best way we can access is to educate our next generation of business leaders in being able to speak Chinese, to be able to operate inside China for our producers, for our manufacturers, our agricultural goods to make inroads into the Chinese market…. I urge a strong aye vote on this bill.
…. I have a five year old grandson who has spent two years in Mandarin preschool and now he’s in kindergarten studying Mandarin. He speaks Mandarin. He reads Mandarin…. The other day Billy was reading a book to him in English and he was translating into Chinese.
Senator Bruce Starr:
The future of Oregon businesses really rely upon trade with China. And not necessarily the importing of Chinese products into Oregon, or into the US, but the exporting of our products to a huge, huge consumer market. And for Oregon young people to have the opportunity to be exposed to and to learn this particular language in this century. It is going to be critically important for the success of our young people. I only wish it went further.
…. We are way behind in second languages in this country. And I think the immersion schools are wonderful, and that’s the way to go. And I very much support this.