As I spend my time in the metropolitan areas of United States such as New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, I often hear people speaking other languages other than English. More often, I would hear people speaking Chinese. According to a 2007 census, Chinese is ranked third after English and Spanish as the language most used in American homes. That is only about 2.5 million people who speak Chinese, but around 34.5 million people speak Spanish fluently in America. Overall, there are one billion people in the world who speak Chinese, most of which are populated in parts of Asia.
Yet, a Georgia school district in Macon is trying to implement mandatory Chinese classes in their public schools. Keep in mind that, in the 2010 census of Georgia, only about 3.4% of Georgia’s population is Asian. In Macon, only 0.8% is Asians and the city’s population is a little over 90,000. If there are scarcely any Chinese people in Georgia, then why are they making Chinese language classes mandatory?
The county’s school superintendent Romain Dalleland said that it is a strategic plan to fix its education system since half of the district’s students do not graduate. The district plans on adding more math and science classes and require Mandarin Chinese classes within three years. He is convinced that by 2050, the students will live in a world where they cannot survive if they cannot function in Asian culture.
Some high schools in California currently offer Chinese as a second language in high schools and there are also Chinese schools on the weekends for kids to go and learn the language. Whether one picks up Chinese as a second language to learn at school is up to one’s choice. However, would mandating students to learn Chinese be helpful for their education? Probably not.
There are other ways he can do to improve the education system by assessing the needs and knowledge of each student. Although I am not an expert on redefining and improving the education system, I do have some opinions that I believe are useful. Instead of using a “one size fits all” model to teach students, they can be more personalized and work at the pace of the students’ ability to learn. A good way is to provide tutoring and extra help for students who learn at a slower pace. However, making students learn Chinese and learn more science and math classes does not seem like it would increase the graduation rate for students.