Chinese Students

Chinese Students

Conflict at First English-Mandarin Public School

shuang-wenThe Shuang Wen Academy opened in New York in 1998, and was celebrated as the first-ever English-Mandarin dual-language public school. Although its students perform well on tests and earn high grades, the school is facing unhappy parents and nine city investigations.

A major concern is abuse in the admissions process, which should operate with a lottery system. Sixty-two percent of the district’s students are black and Hispanic and 20 percent are Asian, yet 80 percent of the students at Shuang Wen are Chinese. The city is investigating allegations that the school discourages black parents from enrolling their children.

Another area of concern is the after-school program. During the day, classes are taught in English, and the Mandarin-language part of the curriculum is part of an extra-curricular program. The after-school classes were once mandatory but free, however, a lack of funding caused the school to charge $600 for the extra instruction. The program is no longer mandatory, but many parents feel pressure to pay. The school also warned that it could no longer provide after-school supervision to students not enrolled in the program. “The safety of the child will be in jeopardy if you come late,” one letter to parents said.

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Maine Public School Plans to Moonlight as International Boarding School

Dr. Kenneth Smith at the Great Wall of China Photo Credit: Du Bin for The New York Times

Dr. Kenneth Smith at the Great Wall of China Photo Credit: Du Bin for The New York Times

It is no secret that schools across America have been brainstorming ways to increase enrollment and revenue.

At Stearns High School in Millinocket, Maine the need for students is so apparent, the county’s superintendent Dr. Kenneth Smith has committed to crossing oceans to solve the school’s enrollment problem.

According to the NY Times, Dr. Smith has developed a plan to embark to China, hire a consultant to provide Chinese connections, and lure students back to Millinocket to enroll at the high school for $27,000 a year to cover tuition, room and board. Read the rest of this entry »


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