controversy over china-funded language program

News out Hacienda Heights, California, where a school's proposed Chinese language program has sparked heated debate... In January, the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District board voted 4 to 1 to adopt a new Chinese language and culture class at Cedarlane Middle School next fall.

Here's the part that's fueling the controversy: the program, "Confucius Classroom," is fully paid for by the Chinese government's Chinese Language Council International, at no cost to the district: Chinese government's funding of Southland school's language program fuels controversy.

Critics, of course, are suspicious that the whole thing is a propaganda tool by the People's Republic of China, no doubt designed to brainwash and indoctrinate our students in the evil ways of China China China. Muhahahahaha! [Strokes sinister Fu Manchu facial hair.

Never mind the fact that public schools across the country, from Oregon to Rhode Island, have successfully implemented the program. Cedarlane serves a community that is more than a third Asian -- mostly Chinese American. Why such resistance?

I think the debate reveals tensions over a major demographic shift in the area over the last few decades, as well as growing anxiety over China's rapid rise as a superpower. All the more reason why it would be really helpful and advantageous for kids to learn Chinese, don't ya think?

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