Studying Up: March 30, 2011
This week, a study on foreign language instruction in American schools revealed that more students are learning Mandarin. The number of students studying the language nearly tripled between 2005 and 2008. Some attribute the rise to China’s growing influence on the world stage. Others – including one of the study’s authors – wonder if the phase will last.
In Alameda County, having a Mandarin curriculum was important enough to some parents that they’re starting their own Mandarin-English charter school. The project has been in the works since their charter was approved last November. It’s a good thing they got in there early: a bill proposed this week would cap the number of California charters at 1,450. The state currently has 912 charter schools and counting...
A law that’s already in place is making it harder for schools buy new textbooks. In 2009, the legislature passed a bill prohibiting the state Board of Education from adopting A new curriculum. It was supposed to free up money for schools to put towards other needs; but education officials are running into problems as they try to develop the common core standards touted by President Obama – incidentally, a name you won’t find in older history books.
This curriculum moratorium has some districts thinking outside the book – the textbook, that is. Instead of paper and cardboard, the Twin Rivers Unified School District is giving some students netbooks. While this could lead to savings in the future, it turns out e-books have an up-front cost, too. Perhaps officials could try out the fundraising tactic of one El Dorado Hills teacher, who’s selling her shoe collection to support her district.
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