Uploaded: Tue, Jun 7, 2011, 5:18 pm
South Korea to sponsor Korean classes in Dougherty Valley
While neighboring districts struggle to add classes during a fiscal crisis, one San Ramon school is adding to an already diverse roster of foreign language classes.
If all goes according to plan, Dougherty Valley High School students will have the option to take two levels of Korean for their world language requirement, said Rob Stockberger, director of secondary education for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD). Almost 57 percent of the school's students are Asian, and as that population in the Dougherty Valley has grown, Stockberger said interests have changed.
"Over time world language options have changed a little bit – once upon a time in this district, the options were just around Spanish, French and German, but interest has changed a bit," he said.
SRVUSD already offers Chinese and Japanese courses at various schools, the addition of a Korean program would be just one of 60 in the state. While there are approximately 50 schools in Southern California that teach Korean as a world language, Stockberger said the South Korean government has an interest in seeing the language more widely available.
Sinok Kim, director of the Korean consulate's education department in San Francisco, told reporters at New American Media that Korea has offered a setup grant of $25,000 to $30,000 to schools willing to host a Korean-language program, depending on class size. Dougherty Valley High would have to commit to the program for two years and would receive a maintenance grant of $6,000 the following year.
"The intention is to not create a fiscal challenge or burden at this time for the district. We're not in the position to add a program -- this is not an immersion program. This would look pretty much directly parallel to if you went to high school common course catalog for Chinese and Spanish," Stockberger said.
According to an article in Korea Times, the Korean Education Center in San Francisco has consulted with several school districts since February about adding Korean language courses in high schools and has worked with parents to launch a committee that would drum up student interest.
Stockberger said the district still needs to contract a qualified teacher to run the classes and is working on letters of commitment from 40 or 50 Dougherty Valley students.
Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jun 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm
The ethnic-tisity of the neighborhood should really be irrelevant!
American public schools should be focused on teaching American history, values, language, culture (although that certainly is a mixture of cultures), and life skills foremost and first most-- benefit and foster American values preeminently.
We should desire students to be educated into how to:
Vote in America (understanding American politics, history, structure, and system),
Balance their checkbooks and operate their financial lives,
Obtain and payoff an American-style mortgage loan,
Survive and live well in an American city,
Successfully gain and maintain work in America in American jobs,
Operate a business,
Operate a household,
Become beneficial to their local society/neighborhood, and
Believe in and foster American values and the English language (as the common world language).
Certainly students need to learn about the World at large and as a whole, including a healthy dose and overview of World history, values, language, culture, etc..
But no single foreign country's "education" (which amounts to propoganda for their country at the exclusion of others) should take precedence over the two basic, higher priorities--to become proficient at living in America and to learn about the whole world generally. And no racial ethnic-tisity should be promoted by public education--that's a private, family matter and responsibility!
I know there would be many people who would argue against my opinion here--arguing that IF a neighborhood is highly black or hispanic or other origin background, that the schools therein should especially teach information and classes that focus in on those particular backgrounds of culture, history and language. I'm arguing that that is NOT public education's responsibility. That is not in the general interests of the general public all across America. That does not directly make students into better American citizens.
I'm arguing that we should focus on America, our commonality as Americans, and upon the English language (helping develop it into a universal world language). That it's our public schools job to assimilate us together as Americans, rather than spend public dollars to dis-assimulate us as Americans and foster assimilating us into other cultures, values, and languages.
I'm not saying it's ever wrong to give some space (public time and money) to one narrow, foreign culture. But accomplish the higher-priority "basics" of education first. And, in California, we can't even balance the governmental budget. Let alone take on another project and expanded scope of education.
Where does it stop? How do you define the limits of what we should pay for public education to do?
Please understand that the District is planning for much more than a simple "Korean language class" here.
It is an 'immersion" program, whereby a Korean teacher is brought in to teach all subjects (history, math, etc) in both Korean and English for many years and then perhaps stretching upward into many grade levels or following that group of students through their advancing grades. (that part of the plan is unclear to me?)
Developing a whole side curriculum with years of financial and time follow-through and commitment seems EXTREMELY INAPPROPRIATE for our current financially-strapped and poorly-achieving educational systems. It seems a clear case of over-committing and over-expanding in educational scope--spending public time, money, effort, energy, thought, and planning on lower priority objectives.
The District is planning to hire a foreign teacher. Regardless of WHO pays for him/her, it's an American job position that gets taken up. Then it takes administrative time and effort to manage and operate the position. It entails allowing a visa, etc.. It takes up classroom facilities and infrastructure--paid by past Americans--to be dedicated to this "immersion" program's purposes.