Foreign Languages Fade in Class — Except Chinese

The New York Times reports that American elementary school enrollment in Chinese has increased, in part due to the Chinese government subsidizing Chinese language instructors:

Some schools are paying for Chinese classes on their own, but hundreds are getting some help. The Chinese government is sending teachers from China to schools all over the world — and paying part of their salaries… Also stoking the interest has been a joint program by the College Board and Hanban, a language council affiliated with the Chinese Education Ministry, that since 2006 has sent hundreds of American school superintendents and other educators to visit schools in China, with travel costs subsidized by Hanban. Many have started Chinese programs upon their return.

Since 2006, Hanban and the College Board have also sent more than 325 volunteer Chinese “guest teachers” to work in American schools with fledgling programs and paying $13,000 to subsidize each teacher’s salary for a year. Teachers can then renew for up to three more years.

The State Department has paid for a smaller program — the Teachers of Critical Languages Program — to bring Chinese teachers to schools here, with each staying for a year.

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