The Portland, Ore., public schools will become the first site for developing a national model for Chinese-language instruction for K-12 students, under an award from the U.S. Department of Defense National Flagship Language Initiative.
The program “to produce linguistically and culturally competent students” will be administered by the 53,000-student district and the Center for Applied Second Language Instruction at the University of Oregon.
Beginning in kindergarten, students will learn about Chinese culture and heritage and receive instruction in Mandarin Chinese. They will have opportunities to meet native speakers of Chinese through service learning, internships, and study abroad.
In June, the Defense Department began soliciting proposals for expanding the Chinese-language programs sponsored by the language initiative. The federally funded initiative, housed at the University of Maryland College Park, provides advanced language study for college students in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Russian.
The Defense Department has called for a national strategy for promoting foreign-language study and greater understanding of other cultures to help address the country’s economic and security needs.
A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2005 edition of Education Week