Now, more than ever, we need to engage China through educational programs. Please do Oregon’s part in trying to get U.S.-China relations headed in the right direction. In the proposals coming out of the Joint Interim Committee on Student Success, please included proposals to expand Mandarin dual language immersion programs and to create paid high-school-year–in-China programs.
Currently, Oregon has five public Mandarin dual language immersion programs with a total kindergarten enrollment capacity of about 198, or one-half of one percent of all Oregon kindergarteners. Oregon could fund startup grants of $100,000 each.
Oregon, shamefully, has no paid public high school study abroad programs. Recall that the study abroad program ASSE has high-school-year-abroad programs to over two dozen countries. ASSE offers a high school year in China for $9,200. It covers tuition, room and board with a family, and international transportation. $9,200 is $3,319 less that the annual 2016 Oregon per pupil spending of $12,519 cited by the National Educational Association. Oregon can save funds by sending some high school students to study abroad in China. There is no financial reason not to fund high school study aboard programs. Two ways to do so would be (1) to allocate funds for a state level program and (2) to legislate permission for local school districts to use State School Fund money to send students abroad.
China is important to Oregon’s future. Consider the following from James Fallow’s article “America Is Fumbling Its Most Important Relationship: The United States has a China Problem – and pundits and politicians are making it worse” in The Atlantic (here):
I would assert that as of 2018:
America’s most volatile relationship is with North Korea, for obvious reasons.
Its most damaging relationship would seem to be with Russia.
Its most dangerously taken-for-granted relationships would be (a four-way tie) with Mexico, Canada, the European Union as an economic group, and NATO as a strategic alliance. Each of these relationships is crucial to America’s long-term economic, diplomatic, military, and national-security well-being. All are now under more-or-less acute strain, based on each group’s calculation on how long Trump-style erratic “America First!”-ism will guide U.S. actions.
Its most subject-to-change relationships are, for a widely varying range of reasons, with Saudi Arabia, with Iran, with Israel, with Pakistan, with Turkey, with Australia, with South Korea, with the Philippines, with half a dozen others I can think of.
But its most important relationship, beyond any reasonable dispute—“bar none,” you might say—is with China. No other country has the prospect of eventually having a larger economy than America’s—which sooner or later China will inevitably do. (With four times as many people, it need only become one-quarter as rich as the United States per capita to take the lead.) No other nation outside North America is as tightly integrated with U.S. corporate production, consumption, distribution, and marketing systems. While Russia still has many more nuclear weapons, no other country could even dream of becoming an across-the-board military rival to the United States, as China might.
No other country is as important on environmental and sustainability issues as China, as a force either for progress or for hastened disaster. No other country sends as many students (especially paying students) to American universities, or has as ambitiously funded a national project aspiring to match American research achievements. No other country … well, I could spend the rest of the day enumerating reasons to take China seriously, and to care whether the relationship becomes more openly hostile and competitive, rather than as relatively stable as it has been since Deng Xiaoping and Jimmy Carter signed formal normalization agreements nearly 40 years ago. ….
Handled right—or, in as error-minimizing a way as the governments of both countries more or less have handled it over the past four decades—this is a relationship that overall can be a force for greater prosperity, less environmental damage, and more diplomatic stability around the world. Handled wrong, it holds peril for everyone, in realms ranging from an accelerated arms race in Asia to hastened environmental disaster for the world as a whole.
I’ve never fully signed on to the “Thucydides Trap” predictions for the U.S. and China—essentially, the idea that if a rising power and an established power each believe that they are destined for a showdown, then that conflict is very likely to occur. (I haven’t signed on because there are so many buffers working against something like the Thucydides-type German-British collision that led to World War I. Despite their regional rivalries, China and the U.S. are in different parts of the world, with the whole Pacific Ocean between them. They’re not involved in the kind of direct colonial competition that England and Germany were. The gap between the two sides’ military power is much greater, though both are nuclear-armed and thus warier of direct confrontation; and so on.) But I’ve believed in the converse of the Thucydides concept: that the assumption from both governments that they could peacefully manage China’s rise has made conflict less rather than more likely.
So it matters whether the United States approaches China seriously, and vice versa. And right now each country is headed in the wrong direction…..
Please act to engage China through Oregon’s educational programs.