CNN.com – U.S. schools lack adequate Chinese language skills – Jul 13, 2005

CNN.com – U.S. schools lack adequate Chinese language skills – Jul 13, 2005

Not too surprising for those of us in the field. I have heard this numerous times in the past couple years, but little has been done to improve the situation.

Many people are comparing this Japanese in the 80’s but I think this is a foolish comparison. While learning Japanese would have been beneficial in the 80’s, and today for that matter, China is a is a market that it just going to grow and grow and grow for the foreseeable future. While only time will tell, I would say that the sleeping giant of the 21st century is awaking.

Regardless of the economic and geo-political growth of China, we need to lift our schools out of a dated Euro-centric focus on language learning. I’m am a product of Spanish and Italian language classes myself and love both languages. Spanish has proven quite useful in numerous situations, but Italian has only proven useful in Italy and restaurants. Why not give students exposure to a language spoken by a billion people in China alone (assuming Mandarin is spoken by that many)?

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