You’ll see many of the same stories if you follow the media’s coverage of the Chinese education industry:
However, there’s a growing trend which could stand to receive more attention:
US and Canadian communities debating whether to allow overseas Chinese students into their public school(s).
Yes, Chinese students are paying full tuition, if not more than the standard amount. The economic incentive is there. Schools aren’t shy in admitting it’s a major reason why students arrive into open arms.
Communities are asking important questions though:
- What’re the benefits of having Chinese students in our school(s)?
- Is the money worth it?
- Will our kids learn from this cultural exchange? If so, what will they learn?
- Do Chinese students take opportunities away from our own kids?
- Where will the Chinese students stay? A Mainland Chinese businessman wants to buy a defunct building in our town and then turn it into housing for incoming Chinese students. Should we allow this?
The plan to enroll Chinese students in Valparaiso, Indiana was an especially juicy story. The town’s mayor was a minority investor (11%) in the company tasked to find/manage the 30 incoming Chinese students!
- Public Schools Recruit Tuition-Paying International Students To Boost Revenue – “With a fiscal crunch and projections for a continued slide in enrollment, Smith last fall joined the heads of three private schools in Maine on a recruiting trip to China.”
- Public schools recruiting international high schoolers – “Students and teachers are divided on whether having foreign students forces the Newcomb kids to up their game”
- Oxford Community Schools board OKs exchange student dorm hall – “Several forums were held in the district, and except for some concerns about who would own the building if it was built on school property…”
- L’Anse Creuse School Board debates international fund – ““I understand that it seems all warm and fuzzy to bring Chinese students into our district and that we can say it is great for kids. How does it benefit my child? How exactly does it benefit my seventh-grader…”
- Janesville School Board gets international program update – “Plans have also been discussed to remodel the old Holiday Inn in South Beloit, Ill. to house foreign high school students and college students.”
Cultural misunderstanding also complicates the debates. The Chinese “Tiger Mom” phenomenon still exists. Suspect PISA scores have overinflated Shanghai/Chinese schools’ global competitiveness and academic prowess.
Don’t forget about the upcoming 2016 US presidential election as well! Will the “Red Scare” about number-crunching Chinese kids only increase? Will candidates deliver phrases like “We’ve got to make sure our young Americans keep up with high achieving Chinese kids”?
US and Canadian communities will continue to struggle with balancing finances and constituents’ voices, as they jump into the China admissions world. Here’s wishing for the best…
Do you agree that there isn’t enough coverage on this topic? Do you disagree with me? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Don’t forget to share this post too! Thanks for reading