"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can Kentucky Students Speak Mandarin with a Southern Accent? The P20 Innovation Lab will Soon Find Out.

Do you remember this commercial by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)? The Chinese professor is speaking to a group of Chinese students in 2030 about great nations failing under crushing debt and now China owns the United States because of the massive amount of debt owed by the US to China.

Do you think The Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab saw this commercial and decided Kentucky students might want to get ready for this takeover? Here are some issues and goals from its Global Issues Lab:

Issue 1: World language requirements for P-12 graduation and university admission

As requirements for world language proficiency change in Kentucky, we will need new curricula and world language and culture assessments that can be coordinated P-20.

Issue 2: Credit for proficiency versus seat time.

With educational trends that encourage independent student learning and stress standards and proficiency-based teaching and learning, granting credit by proficiency in lieu of seat time is becoming more common. Kentucky is positioned to take a leadership role in such initiatives nationally.

Issue 3: Chinese as a critical need language.

In Kentucky, as in much of the nation, there is a critical need for innovative models of extended, well-articulated P-20 Mandarin Chinese language programs with the teaching expertise to lead learners to a high level of proficiency.


The following goals delineate the overall objectives of the Global Portals Lab as it works toward models for scalability.

1. Develop internationalized curriculum and assessments pathways for P-20

· Develop a curriculum map to be proficiency based and articulated with higher education admissions requirements, degree and study opportunities in world language and cultures with Chinese as the pilot

· Provide professional development for teachers to create and use Chinese language proficiency assessments at elementary, middle and high school levels.

The document goes on to state there is also a need to expand partnership with the increasing Hispanic population and in homes where English is not the first language. What is the goal?

The over-arching goal of the lab is to develop a plan to support the participation of high school students and teachers from central Kentucky schools districts and their peers in schools in Carlos Ruis Burneo, Ecuador; in partnership with UK and PUCE College Of Education students and faculty in building international connections and collaborations (including service-learning) to promote positive learning experiences for near and far participants.

The reason for these programs?

The United States is becoming increasingly diverse (U.S. Census, 2000) and is anticipated to be even more diverse with the largest growth in Latino and Hispanic populations. No where does this diversity have more impact than in the nation’s schools. However, many teachers and school districts have limited resources to meet the needs of this diverse population, especially those children and families for whom English is not their first language (i.e. English Language Learners). Therefore, this planning laboratory seeks to facilitate a partnership among educators in central Kentucky and in Santo Domingo, Ecuador to develop an authentic and innovative approach to this issue using evidence-based models of communication, collaboration and consultation.

It seems as if Chinese language is to be taught so Americans can be globally competitive and on the other hand, Kentucky students and professors get to travel either virtually or in person to Ecuador to understand and address the diversity present in the Hispanic population in Kentucky schools.

Maybe Kentucky is ahead of its time or sees the future. Its children will be able to speak Chinese when China calls in America's debt and at the same time it will spend resources to assist Hispanic students who for some reason cannot assimilate into America culture.

Is this new definition of American exceptionalism?

1 comment:

  1. Kind of off topic here but...I had to take a multicultural class to get my MA. I'm all for that- I have friends from around the world. But this class really irritated me as I felt it perpetuated racism and stereotyping. We were to learn about each major culture in the USA and then "recognize" people's culture. I had told my professor how I liked to see people by what united us, and that I had a Muslim friend and we'd united over like of certain coffee, food, television. Not that I didn't care about his culture, (we did go to a hookah bar once, and a Lebanese restaurant) but I saw him as more than a Muslim. My prof. said, "well then you weren't a complete friend because you didn't recognize his culture". I said, meaning I didn't treat him like a Muslim, didn't bring up my appreciation and knowledge of his culture in daily conversation? And she said yes, exactly. I was quite livid because I'm sorry, but if I went up to him and said "allahu-akhbar, how are you? You know I'm in the mood for some hummus and pita. Hopefully it isn't Ramadan so we can go grab a bite. How do you say that in Arabic" he'd probably end our friendship, for stereotyping him!


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