Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Fargo schools to teach Chinese

Fargo students will likely be learning Mandarin Chinese starting in fall 2009. The School District will also look to teleconferencing or Web-based teaching to keep other language programs viable, district officials say. The district is planning a...

Graphic: Habla Espanol?

Fargo students will likely be learning Mandarin Chinese starting in fall 2009.

The School District will also look to teleconferencing or Web-based teaching to keep other language programs viable, district officials say.

The district is planning a pilot program to teach Mandarin, which is the world's most spoken language, said Bob Grosz, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The other four languages taught in Fargo schools - Spanish, French, German and Latin - will be kept, he said.

"What we have tried to do is look at educational research; what other progressive districts are beginning to offer," Grosz said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mandarin Chinese is spoken by up to 1.3 billion people as a first or second language, according to the Asia Society.

That contrasts with English, which is spoken by perhaps 500 million people as a first or second language, Grosz said.

If Mandarin gets the go-ahead from the School Board, Grosz said it would be phased in, probably at the middle school level, with one instructor teaching up to a full-day's worth of classes if demand is there. Another instructor would be added in year two if demand warrants, he said.

No North Dakota schools offer Mandarin, a Department of Public Instruction official said Friday.

Tricia Lang, DPI's assistant director for school approval and accreditation, said the big hurdle for schools will be finding teachers who meet the federal No Child Left Behind law's highly qualified standard, she said.

Grosz agreed, saying that was a big part of Fargo's decision to wait a year.

Seventeen schools offer Mandarin in Minnesota - mostly in the Twin Cities - according to the Asia Society.

Don Faulkner is one of several Fargo School Board members who like the move to Mandarin.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I think it will be great. With such a huge portion of the world speaking Chinese, we'd be remiss in not offering it," Faulkner said. "We really owe it to our students to give them the opportunity to compete in that world."

In Fargo, Spanish is the most popular offering among students, with 1,260 students taking it this year, compared with 1,289 in 2005-06, the district reported.

French has seen an increase, with 389 taking classes in Fargo schools this year, compared with 350 two years ago. Latin enrollment is largely flat at 322 students this year. German, however, is serving 204 students this year, compared with 286 in 2005-06, district figures show.

Grosz said the district will "look at alternative delivery models" for German, Latin and French, such as interactive video or online delivery, with classes taught in Fargo and shared with other districts.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
What To Read Next
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Columnist Carol Bradley Bursack explains the differences between Alzheimer's, dementia and other common forms of dementia.
While the United States government gave help to businesses and people, a lack of assistance has left some Chinese citizens angry and destitute.
Having these procedures available closer to home will make a big difference for many in the region.