Add Chinese Program in Sylvania Schools
We are a group of parents with students in Sylvania schools. Our children are either first generation American-born Chinese Americans or adopted children from China who are fluent in English and also need formal instruction in Chinese language. China is the second largest trading partner of the United States just behind Canada according to 2015 US Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/top/top1507yr.html). Chinese is a language spoken by the most people in the world. Chinese culture is rich with the longest written history. The Chinese written characters are also used by many other Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. Strategically, the Department of Defense also considers the Chinese language as one of the critical languages for the United States. As we learned that the Sylvania school district is considering reviewing its foreign language curriculum, we are asking the district to consider Chinese programs in middle and high schools taught by certified teachers, which may eventually include Advanced Placement courses and Dual Enrollment / College Credit Plus courses in Chinese.
Many school districts in the Northwest Ohio have already adopted some form of Chinese as second language program in their curriculum. Almost all well-known private schools in Toledo have Chinese programs such as St. John Jesuit High School and Academy, Maumee Valley Country Day School, Notre Dame Academy and St. Francis de Sales High School. Toledo Public Schools, Ottawa Hills High School and Springfield High School have offered Chinese programs for a few years. Perrysburg is offering its Chinese program this year including both junior high and high school. Sylvania is a district with the highest Asian American population in Northwest Ohio. East Asians American(most of them are Chinese Americans) are third largest minority group after Hispanics and African-Americans in Sylvania city and Sylvania Township. Sylvania will lose competitive advantages to other school districts by not offering Chinese language as a second language in this global economy and connected world.
We understand that Chinese is a category four language from the view of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and it would take more than twice the time for English speaking learners to reach general professional proficiency level to learn Chinese than to learn French or Spanish (http://www.ausa.org/publications/ausanews/specialreports/2010/8/Pages/DLI%E2%80%99slanguageguidelines.aspx)
Therefore, it is beneficial for students to learn a language like Chinese early than wait till college and receive high school credits to count in the foreign language requirement for colleges and universities.
The Chinese American community and families with adopted Chinese children in the school district would be very supportive of Chinese language program. The Chinese Center of Toledo, a community-based Chinese heritage language center, can serve as a resource for Sylvania schools students to practice outside of classroom and for teachers teaching Chinese as a second language. Many members of the Chinese Association of Greater Toledo are Sylvania residents. We believe parents of other ethnic groups will also be interested in this new Chinese program to prepare their children for a brighter future in a connected world. Sylvania school district will enjoy many parent support to implement a Chinese program.