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Dueling Petitions Take on Mandarin Immersion in D67

One asks that Mandarin immersion be reconsidered for incoming kindergarteners, the other that the board remove the magnet option for Cherokee School.

The fate of the District 67 Mandarin immersion program and the possibility of a magnet program for world language immersion has led to two dueling online petitions for Lake Forest parents.

One, titled, “Demand District 67 to Reconsider Kindergarten Mandarin Immersion for 2014-15” had 592 supporters as of Tuesday evening. It’s asking the school board to reconsider its decision to eliminate the Mandarin immersion option for incoming kindergarteners.

It reads, in part: “Our children have a wide variety of educational needs and desires. We need to preserve and protect the freedom of choice to ensure each and every child can prosper. Eliminating the Mandarin option for next year's kindergartners threatens the health of the Mandarin Immersion Program. To protect this popular choice, please sign this petition to request the Board revisit its decision, either at a Special Meeting or at its next regularly scheduled board meeting.”

The other petition, titled, “Protect Cherokee Elementary School and Remove the Magnet School as an option for the District 67 School Board,” had 352 signatures as of Tuesday evening.

It reads in part:Protect Cherokee: 
- Protect the Public School System that provides English Curriculum to ALL Students. 
- Protect Cherokee Teachers and Staff - they made the school what it is today. 
- Protect Cherokee School District - the homes within the perimeter deserve a public school. Children do not deserve to be bussed all day - they deserve the opportunity to learn.” 

Gazebo News has an article with more information about the two sides’ stances, including copies of slides from the D67 Language Acquisition and School Integration Committee, which you can read here.

There is also a lively debate going on in the comments on Patch after a mom posted her thoughts on the program, which you can read here.

Laura Rukavina April 02, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Yes, you would get death threats. I dont have to fight that battle, special needs funding. But I dont think enough are asking the district about MI funding. There are no continued state and federal grants to support the program. China pays very little, and we have to chase down that money. The program in its current form is being phased out. Herein lies the issue of what programs will be skimmed to pay for the next 4 years? There are big costs. 4th grade material is min 20k, 1st grade will have cost of running a small school within a school. Any MI drop outs (particurly after SAT scores or parents realization that it is not even a proper 'partial immersion') and they need to add more english teachers. (both MI and english in different grades are packed classrooms). Busing children all over town. There are countless costs on cleaning up this big mess. The budget has been set long ago. What programs will be skimmed? I believe there will always be those ahead and behind, gifted programs are extremely important ~tho not under the law. We also need to focus on enhancing the average learners, lift them higher. And what about all of the other wonderful opportunities~ art, music, language for all, sports, etc. Special needs budget wont be cut, but others will have to.
Laura Rukavina April 02, 2014 at 11:13 AM
And you are also correct about brsinwashing our children to love, respect and admire China. There is a much bigger picture here, and if you research it I guarantee you will lose sleep. They tried to force my english child to shout JI YO eeach morning after the CH chant. That is a very small example, but the whole chinese soft tactic propaganda in our elementary schools! And the parents LOVE it!!
Gary April 02, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Laura - All I needed to know was that they were teaching Social Studies in Mandarin. What is the world view of someone who wrote Social Studies text books in Mandarin? You are confirming what I feared.
Gary April 02, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Laura - The whole point of this program was to enhance Andy Hendrikson's resume so he could move on to a bigger pension somewhere else. Now that he got what he wanted it would be nice if we could bring some sanity back into the process. Keep up the good work Laura.
Laura Rukavina April 02, 2014 at 02:58 PM
Thank you Gary!!

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