Mandarin Immersion Charter Rejected by Riverside School Board
A proposed charter school that would have offered classes in both English and Mandarin Chinese has been rejected by the Riverside County School Board. But the educator behind the idea says he’s not giving up and that he’ll petition the Riverside County Board of Education for another shot.
In rejecting the measure, Riverside School Board officials said there wasn’t evidence of enough interest in the program to make the school financially viable. It also questioned a lack of planning for English learners, children with disabilities, and those with special education needs.
Furthermore, “the Petition describes an admission policy that would negate any efforts to maintain a racial balance reflective of the Riverside community,” according to the report. “Specifically, as a prerequisite for admission in 2nd grade and higher, a student would undergo a ‘Mandarin Language Review’ to ensure that the student applicant is ‘proficient in Mandarin at the grade level to which they are applying.’ (Petition, p. 171.) This prerequisite will have a negative impact on racial and ethnic diversity since very few non-Asian students in Riverside County speak Mandarin. In light of this admission prerequisite, Petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the racial and ethnic balance element of the Petition and as required by law.”
The educator behind the proposal, Michael Scott, takes issue with these assertions. He argues, for instance, that the Mandarin proficiency test is in line with testing used for Spanish immersion programs in the district.
Scott has 180 days from the date of the decision to submit his petition and have his case heard.