Philadelphia (CBS) — Along with China’s growing global presence, its government has committed many millions of dollars to start Chinese language classes in the US. In North Carolina, Mandarin Chinese is being taught in 45 public schools as part of a national network of 100 “exemplary” programs K-12.

William Harrison, head of the state’s board of education, believes that it’s important to be competitive, while California’s Hacienda La Puente’s district rejects what it sees as promoting propaganda.

Activities to promote China are not new. The College Board has offered advance placement courses for several years in Chinese language and culture and in 2007 launched a guest-teacher program. This fall 127 teachers were placed in the US with the Chinese government covering costs and partial salaries.

An initiative called Confucius Classrooms is now operating 337 programs in 98 countries. Member schools receive $10,000 for materials and professional development and are helped in getting a guest teacher as well as providing assistance for staff to visit China. The hands-on approach to both language and culture has become very popular.

Read more in Education Week.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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