"Globally competitive students will need to be bilingual when they graduate from high school, and that school districts that do not at least offer immersion programs as an option will be seen as offering a “second rate” education"
A Lake Oswego parent has written a letter to the editor of the Lake Oswego Review about the Lake Oswego School District’s decision not to proceed now with a Mandarin immersion program, fearing that “the Lake Oswego schools could be losing their reputation as the best in the state.” I would add that what is true for the Lake Oswego School District is true for all school districts across the state. The parent, Martin L. Jacobs, writes in part (here):
My concern is that the Lake Oswego schools could be losing their reputation as the best in the state. Other nearby school systems are now offering immersion programs, while we dither and delay. First “we don’t have the time,” then “we don’t have the funds.” These are excuses. As a businessman, I know that you make time to do important things. No excuses! After vacillating, the school board has now approved a Spanish immersion program. They found the time and money to do that. A good decision.
I don’t understand, however, of not approving the Chinese program as well. I understand that China has created a program worldwide to help teach Mandarin. The program will supply and pay for a qualified teacher, contribute up to $10,000 to start the program, supply the books required and supply the curriculum. In effect, (it would) contribute almost $100,000.
I understand that school systems around the country are benefiting from the program and they are assured that there is no propaganda involved.
I have read in the Review that there are parents who are considering moving their children to other school systems to enable them to attain this language training. If this happens, Lake Oswego schools will lose state revenue ($6,500 per student), and the high reputation it has had over the years. This could adversely affect students’ acceptance to colleges of their choice, income from the state and house values in our city.
On the other hand, if we have the programs, they would attract transfers into the system, increasing state support and maintain real estate values.
Lake Oswego could add Mandarin immersion at little or no cost. Why delay, fall behind other school systems and penalize our children? Add Chinese immersion to next fall’s program. General Mills had a slogan at one time that applies: “Eventually, why not now?”
My own views from my June, 2011 post “How far behind schools in Utah does the Lake Oswego School District want to be?” (here):
My own view is that, increasingly, globally competitive students will need to be bilingual when they graduate from high school, and that school districts that do not at least offer immersion programs as an option will be seen as offering a “second rate” education. The State of Utah, for example, is mainstreaming foreign language immersion programs, adding ten to fifteen schools each year with Spanish, French, or Mandarin immersion programs. How far behind schools in Utah does the Lake Oswego School District want to be?