Mandarin Immersion

Imagine your excitement when you are provided the opportunity to put your kindergartner in a Mandarin immersion program where they gain language and cultural skills until they graduate high school. You think of all the learning benefits for your child later in life that the opportunity to learn a foreign language and be immersed in another culture can create and define for them. Being a parent, you want to do everything you can to give your children a step up, that will give them a unique view of the world and a skill set that matches.

An immersion program is an excellent way to provide your children critical skills, as bi-lingual and multilingual children are almost always better at understanding language structures, better at multitasking and are afforded more diverse and interesting career opportunities later in life.

Now imagine you and your child have made the commitment to the program and they are now in their 6th year. You have had some amazing presentations, know much more about another country and culture and as a parent may have even picked up some Mandarin. Everything seems to be going according to plan and all of a sudden without warning or consultation you receive notice your program is ending. Now you see the disappointment on your child’s face when you break the news, and you worry about the acclimation to a new school because you are trying to ensure the continuity of their program learnings.

And this is exactly what Cave Creek Unified School District parents are feeling like today. We have been gutted, and are expected to accept that a well-funded, well supported program that typically has a waiting list is being eliminated without any data to back it up. We have emailed, surveyed, gone to board meetings, raised pledges for money, raised pledges for teachers positions and the most we have received from our district as continuation of the program at this point is an after school tutoring program or 30 minutes two days a week for children that previously were completing half of their days in Mandarin.

We have and will continue to rally together as parents to provide options to help and have offered any skills we can contribute, with little cooperation from the district. This is also especially ill-timed in the current political environment where the United States is experiencing attacks on the Asian community and the news reports daily that Asian students have voiced that they feel they are or will be bullied or harmed when returning to school.

While Asian Americans are calling for reform, protesting and experiencing “COVID” hate crimes this district cancels a Chinese program, with no data, no good responses and have refused all help from their parent base, including funding, ideas, and staffing commitments. This decision also highlights that Dr. Monroe has an inability to properly budget and make decisions based on data and that he does not have the best interests of the students in mind.

While we understand COVID has impacted many schools, people and businesses, to blatantly cut a successful program that continually draws interest with no reasoning just doesn’t make sense and further impacts our families and children.
All we ask as parents, administrators and community members is for the school authorities to allow us to help them honor CCUSD’s commitment to these children. These children have spent their time fully engaged, committed, and are benefiting and flourishing in the Mandarin immersion program.

Education is one of the most powerful things in life. It allows us to find the meaning behind everything and helps improve lives in a massive way. Please do not allow CCUSD to take this life altering opportunity away from our children and teachers, especially after they have worked so hard, and there is no good apparent reason to cancel the program.
Please send any requests to offer assistance in the form of support, involvement, or resources to Crystal Lehman at [email protected]

Crystal Lehman