Is the boom in Mandarin classes a fad or a cultural turning point?
"The Times recently reported on the rise of Chinese-language instruction in American schools, a push supported by aid from the Chinese government. While language fads come and go — there was Russian during the cold war, then Japanese in the 1980’s, then Arabic after 9/11 — thousands of public schools have stopped teaching foreign languages in the last decade. Is the boom in Chinese language education going to last?
There’s a long tradition of bemoaning Americans’ inadequacy in foreign languages. But what specifically should the nation do to improve its citizens’ knowledge of other languages? What are the impediments?"
- Susan Jacoby, author of “The Age of American Unreason”
- Ingrid Pufahl, Center for Applied Linguistics
- Marcelo and Carola Suárez-Orozco, N.Y.U.’s immigration studies program
- Norman Matloff, University of California, Davis
- Hongyin Tao, professor of Chinese language and linguistics
- Bruce Fuller, U.C. Berkeley professor of education and public policy