Texas, where everything is big, even the Mandarin immersion schools

A comprehensive argument for a Texas-sized immersion program by Elizabeth Weise at MIPC. What is Houston doing right?

Mandarin Immersion Parents Council

Houston bannerHouston, where everything is big, even the Mandarin immersion schools

By Elizabeth Weise

To the rest of the country this might seem like an odd statement, but here goes. If you were going to design the best public Mandarin immersion school you possibly could, it would probably look a lot like the one that launched in September of 2012—in Houston, Texas.

Houston? Really.

Yes, Houston. Really. When the Houston Independent School District decided to create a Mandarin immersion school it didn’t do as many districts do:

  • Houston didn’t make Mandarin a single strand in a larger school, making it impossible for the school’s culture to focus on Chinese.
  • Houston didn’t put just one classroom per grade in, which makes for tiny classes in the upper grades as students move, often requiring a difficult to teach fourth/fifth split grade class.
  • Houston didn’t place it as one small strand in a larger…

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