A Chinese language class at Cedarlane Middle School in Hacienda Heights, Calif. has attracted controversy for its funding, which reportedly comes from the Chinese government’s Chinese Language Council International, popularly known as Hanban.
Teachers, former superintendents and parents have insisted that the program called Confucius Classroom is nothing more than a propaganda machine from the People’s Republic of China, though officials and supporters say the lessons taught are nothing of the kind.

Despite the uproar over this program, there are already 200 Confucius Classrooms in the U.S. alone and over 280 Confucius Institutes worldwide. After establishing the Confucius Institutes, Hanban decided that it would also like students from kindergarten to the 12th grade to expose themselves to Chinese language and culture. Thus, the idea for Confucius Classroom was born.

What the officials protesting these programs are clearly missing is the advantage these students will have over others their age who aren’t lucky enough to have language programs at their school. The Confucius Classroom comes at no extra cost to the district, and if the community of Hacienda Heights is already more than one-third Asian, why shouldn’t the curriculum cater to the town’s demographics as well? [via LA Times]

Photo by AFP via China Daily