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December 3, 2006

Growing Interest in Mandarin Courses

Natasha Degen:

With its booming economy and aspirations to expand its global influence, China may have achieved a victory in American classrooms.

Take the private Chinese-American International School here, which runs from prekindergarten through eighth grade and offers instruction in all subjects — from math to music — half in Mandarin and half in English. The curriculum also includes Chinese history, culture and language studies, and in the 25 years since the school was founded, it has attracted mainly Asian-American children. But in the past few years, it has seen rapid growth in the enrollment of non-Asians.

For example, five years ago, the school was 57 percent Asian-American, but this year it is only 49 percent Asian-American, said Sharline Chiang, its spokeswoman, adding that more non-Asian-Americans have been applying in recent years. Andrew Corcoran, the head of the school, said that in the last three to four years, applications from white and Indian-American families have more than doubled, though he declined to give exact figures.

Ms. Chiang also said that this was the first year in which the prekindergarten class had more white children, 36 percent, than Asian-Americans, 32 percent.

San Francisco's Chinese-American International School.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 3, 2006 11:41 AM
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