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Retention of the Chinese Heritage, Part II.

Chinese Schools in America, World War II to the Present

Editor's Note: For a discussion of the historical development the schools up to World War II, please refer to the author's "Retention of the Chinese Heritage: Chinese Schools in America Before World War II," in Chinese America: History and Perspectives 2000.

By World War II, Chinese-language schools had existed in the Chinese American community for more than half a century. In spite of their many limitations, the schools had enabled many Chinese Americans to retain parts of their ancestral heritage. World War II, however, became a great divide in their development in America. Many served in the armed forces or in the merchant marine. Chinese were hired in skilled and technical occupations formerly closed to them. In 1943, Congress repealed the Chinese exclusion acts. Although the new law restricted Chinese immigration to 105 annually Chinese were given the right of naturalization. The early postwar period saw enactment of legislation allowing the entry of alien Chinese wives of U.S. citizens. The resulting influx of Chinese women firmly established a family society accompanied by a baby boom in Chinese America. The social and political status of the Chinese in America improved gradually in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as court actions and legislation repealed or voided discriminatory laws and practices against ethnic minorities. Their economic status also improved as they benefited from the postwar expansion of the U.S. economy.

Changes in the international situation also affected the development of the Chinese in America. By 1949 the Communists had defeated the Nationalist government and established the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing. In the Cold War atmosphere that was already enveloping the world, America continued to support the Nationalist regime that had fled to Taiwan. When the PRC entered the Korean War at the end of 1950, the U.S. led the United Nations in branding the PRC an aggressor and imposed an embargo on trade and commerce with the China mainland that cut off communications and exchange between Chinese in America and those on the China mainland. Also, the Communist-led revolution, unlike the previous nationalist-led movements, was one that few Chinese in America participated in or identified with.

These domestic and international developments led Chinese in America to decide that America was home for them and for their posterity, and hence to discard the last vestiges of the sojourner psychology that had been common among many immigrants during the exclusion era. Although parents, particularly those of immigrant origin, were still desirous that their progeny acquire at least the rudiments of Chinese language and culture, such knowledge was no longer considered either a necessary skill for survival in American society or preparation for further education in China. The younger generation growing up in this environment took to mainstream American culture, accelerating the trend that had been evident even before the war. The English language became their primary medium of communication; the motivation to retain use of the Chinese language and knowledge of Chinese traditions became a casualty of these trends. New challenges arose in the form of new waves of Chinese immigration with highly diversified origi ns. All these changes forced Chinese-language schools to greatly modify their operating philosophies and modus operandi. This essay examines and discusses how these Chinese American institutions changed in the face of new challenges during the half-century that has elapsed since the end of World War II. The U.S. mainland and Hawai'i are discussed separately due to the different courses of their development.


After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, nationalistic fervor had spurred the opening, or reopening after a period of inactivity, of at least seven new schools from 1937 to early 1942 in such far-flung communities as San Francisco (1937), Salinas (1937), Washington, D.C. (1937), Portland (1939), El Paso (1939), Los Angeles (1941), and Oakland (1942). However, after America entered the war, there was a hiatus because support for winning World War II claimed top priority Qualified Chinese bypassed meager school stipends for better-paying jobs in the war-stimulated economy Due to the difficulty of recruiting competent teachers, Chinese school authorities curtailed operations. In San Francisco, with the largest number of schools on the U.S. mainland, schools halved class hours from nineteen hours over six days to ten hours over five days, with school being held in the late afternoons or early evenings. In Los Angeles, all three sites of the community-run Chung Wah Chinese School suspended operations i n 1943. Other communities made similar adjustments to wartime conditions. [1]

During the postwar decades, the Chinese population in America continued to increase rapidly, assisted first by a baby boom due to the immigration of "war brides." [2] About 1950, as the Chinese revolution resulted in the founding of the PRC, several thousand Chinese decided to stay in America. Their numbers were augmented in the next two decades by a limited number of immigrants as well as by refugees whose influx was facilitated by a series of refugee acts.

Immediately after the war ended, most schools continued operation with the reduced schedules forced by wartime conditions. One reason was probably an attempt to ease pressures on tight budgets. But a more cogent reason may have been that the reduced hours reflected parents' growing desire for their children to do well in their studies at English-language schools, thus enabling them to take advantage of career opportunities that were beginning to open up to minorities in America after World War II. Obviously, less knowledge could be imparted with the shortened class hours, and the proficiency level that could be attained would usually not be as high as that achieved by students in prewar institutions.

During this period, changes in parents' attitude toward Chinese education, geographical shifts in the Chinese population, and the influx of new immigrants all became factors affecting enrollment in the Chinese-language schools. In San Francisco, despite the fact that the Chinese population more than doubled from the 1930s to the 1950s, the total 1957 enrollment of 2,144 in school in or near Chinatown was only about 15 percent greater than the 1935 enrollment figure of 1,848. This phenomenon reflected the fact that the increasing numbers of second- or later-generation Chinese were not as strongly motivated as the prewar immigrant generation to send their children to Chinese schools. Also, due to Chinese Americans' improving economic and social status after the war, there was a steady exodus from the squalid conditions of Chinatown to better housing in other parts of the city or in the suburbs, where daily attendance at Chinatown schools was impractical. However, children born during the postwar baby boom to f amilies, usually of immigrants, who had settled in Chinatown and spilled over to fill adjacent city blocks had now reached the stage where they readily filled the desks relinquished by the other groups.

Gradually, new schools also arose in new areas where Chinese families settled. Since the base of operations of traditional organizations (such as the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association) that had earlier taken the lead to establish Chinese schools was in Chinatown, these groups showed little interest in starting schools in outlying areas. Thus the initiative fell to religious groups, local civic groups, and groups of parents. One of the first facilities so established was the Chinese Community Church Chinese School, founded in 1955 by Rev. Kei Tin Wong about half a mile west of Chinatown, and followed in 1956 by the Episcopal Church Chinese School, located about two city blocks outside Chinatown. As the exodus continued and the Chinese settled farther away, both schools established branches in the Richmond District, two to three miles outside Chinatown. The Chinese Community Church also taught classes in the Mission District. [3] The number of schools in areas of the city outside Chinatown continued to increase, but few were comparable to the major Chinatown schools in enrollment and scope of subjects offered.

As Chinese families began to settle in the San Francisco suburban areas, there were also attempts to establish schools there. One of the earliest was founded in 1949 by the Baptist Church in suburban San Mateo on the San Francisco Peninsula, to serve the small Chinese population that had congregated in the area. The school offered a daily two-hour class with a single instructor teaching thirty pupils divided into two grades. [4] For the next decade or so, however, the exodus of Chinese from Chinatown was preferentially directed toward outlying parts of San Francisco where transportation facilities were more available, rather than to the suburbs. As a result, suburban Chinese-language schools remained few and far between.

During this postwar period of relative prosperity and increasing Chinese population, leaders in a number of communities expanded existing facilities or founded new schools. In 1951, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) of U.S.A. used $126,000 from surplus war relief funds to remodel the building used by the Chinese Central High School in San Francisco, constructing an auditorium named Victory Hall on the ground floor and remodeling rooms for the use of the school on the second floor. Leaders in communities outside San Francisco also led the renovation of existing facilities or the establishment of new ones. In 1953, the Chinese community in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, saw the opening of its first major school, the Chinese School of the Chinese Community Center, which was subsidized annually by grants from the Shoong Foundation. A large part of the initial funding also came from affluent businessman Joe Shoong. Another beneficiary of the largesse of the Shoong Foundation was a Chinese school that opened in 1954 in the Sacramento River Delta town of Locke.

In Southern California, the CCBA of Los Angeles formed a committee in 1949 to reestablish the Chung Wah Chinese School that had been closed since 1943. With $120,000 left from war relief funds and another $60,000 raised from the community, the committee acquired a Chinatown site on which to build. The new school, which opened in the fall of 1952 as the Chinese School of the Chinese Confucius Temple, was a merger of the former Chung Wah School and Chinese classes sponsored by the Congregational and Presbyterian churches. On the Eastern Seaboard, the CCBA of New York City began fundraising to remodel the building occupied by the CCBA-operated Chinese Public School for joint use by the school and the CCBA. Construction of the million-dollar structure was completed and the school began using the facility in 1962. Three other new schools were also established in 1946,1954, and 1966, sponsored respectively by the Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist churches. Other schools reopened or were founded in such far-flung s maller communities as El Centro, California (1950), San Antonio (1956), Greenwood, Mississippi (1956), Tucson (1957), St. Louis (1957), Miami (1960), and Phoenix (1961). [5]

Schools in the smaller communities had small enrollments, ranging from a dozen to several dozen students, and usually had limited budgets. Practically all offered only elementary-level Chinese, and often students of several grade levels were combined into a single class. Due to the heavy peer pressure on Chinese American youth to acculturate and assimilate in communities where Chinese were a very small minority, the attrition rate of such schools was extremely high.

A 1957 survey listed thirty-one Chinese schools on the U.S. mainland with 4,286 students served by 152 educators. This number did not include students in less structured private classes and weekend classes. Twenty of the thirty-one schools, or about two-thirds of the total, were in California, a state with about 40 percent of the Chinese population in the U.S. Eight of the California schools were located in San Francisco (six in Chinatown and two outside Chinatown) and enrolled 2,114 students, claiming almost half the enrollment counted in the entire U.S. mainland and far outdistancing second-place New York, where 732 students attended three schools, and third-place Los Angeles, with 245 students in two schools. [6] With Chinese Central High School and Hip Wo Chinese School offering full middle-school curricula with twelve grade levels, and St. Mary's Chinese School with ten grade levels, San Francisco remained the leading center for Chinese-language education in the Chinese American community on the United States mainland. However, this was a period when Chinese American society was changing to accommodate the postwar and Cold War environments. Thus in spite of additional schools that were started and the apparent increase in the number of students, only about 10 percent of the Chinese American population from age five through fourteen--the age group most likely to be attending such schools--was enrolled in the schools nationwide. Even in San Francisco, with its concentration of population and highly regarded schools, the enrollment was only about 25 percent of the five- through fourteen-year-old Chinese population in the city


New Arrivals and Rapid Expansion

After the U.S. Congress liberalized immigration laws in 1965, Chinese immigration increased greatly Chinese people came from different regions of the China mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao, as well as Southeast Asia and other countries. The continued heavy influx of newcomers led to a rapid increase in the population and dramatically changed the demography of the Chinese community. The community grew ever more polyglot and diverse, even though the Cantonese remained the largest single group. Most existing Chinatowns once again became crowded and bustling. Other new concentrations sprang up in suburban areas and small towns in different regions of the United States.

American society was also changing. The middle class that had been growing among the non-European minorities since World War II began to demand an equal partnership in American society One characteristic of the movement was a heightened ethnic awareness among the different minorities, with a revival of interest in the groups' histories, languages, and cultures. This led to wider, if sometimes grudging, acceptance of the concept of a multi-ethnic society Although this did not change the fact that Chinese Americans were losing their familiarity with Chinese language and culture, it did allow for a revival of interest in learning the Chinese language. In the meantime, China was playing an increasingly important international role, leading to increased recognition in America of the importance of learning Chinese language and culture. By the early 1960s, some American high schools were already offering courses in Mandarin. [7]

All these factors provided favorable conditions for a phenomenal expansion of Chinese-language schools in the United States. The total number of schools grew from 122 in 13 states on the mainland and the District of Columbia in 1978-1979 to 137 schools in 16 states and the District of Columbia in 1980, and to 304 schools in 35 states and the District of Columbia in 1985-1986. [8] By 1995, a survey conducted by the National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools (NCACLS) discovered that the number had exploded to 634 schools in 47 states on the mainland and District of Columbia, with almost 5,500 instructors teaching almost 82,000 students. It is significant, however, that even with this great expansion of Chinese schools, only about one-third of the population from age five through fifteen was attending the schools.

By the 1970s, most parents' principal objective in sending their children to Chinese school was that they acquire some awareness of their ancestral heritage. This change in attitude, coupled with the fact that Chinese Americans were finding more and more career opportunities in mainstream society meant that there was even more pressure to achieve scholastic excellence in English-language schools at the expense of Chinese lessons. Weekend classes began to be popular as a compromise that reduced the students' load in Chinese school while providing an opportunity to acquire some knowledge of their Chinese heritage.

Suburban Schools and Once-a-Week Classes

Weekend classes had been tried even before the war in areas where students were dispersed over a wide geographical area. One example was the Chinese school started in 1939 in southeast Arkansas. Because Chinese-run grocery stores were dispersed over a 150-mile area, circumstances allowed only once-a-week, usually weekend, operation of the school. [9] However, the operation of Chinese schools based on once-a-week weekend programs did not become widespread until the 1960s, when many Chinese families had moved away from the Chinatowns to outlying and suburban areas where public transportation was limited. Parents thus often had to drive their youngsters to class, which working parents could not conveniently do on a daily basis. Once-a-week classes also eased students' study loads. Whatever the reasons, once-a-week, usually weekend, classes soon gained widespread acceptance all over the country.

In San Francisco Chinatown, long the center of Chinese education in America, the Chinese YWCA became one of the first institutions to introduce weekend classes on Saturdays beginning in 1962. Many students were the progeny of Chinese Americans living outside of Chinatown. Enrollment reached a hundred in 1966. The major Chinatown schools, however, resisted for many years, holding to the belief that daily classes would ensure a better Chinese education. Thus even though the Chinese population in San Francisco was increasing rapidly, total enrollment in the Chinatown schools remained static in the 1960s and 1970s, with the enrollment lost by Chinese families moving away from Chinatown being made up by children of new immigrants settling in the Chinatown area. [10] However, the continuing increase in the student population, as well as many parents' wish to lighten the homework load of Chinese school, finally led even the major schools to change. During the late 1970s, Cumberland Chinese School became one of the first to offer weekend classes as an alternative to daily ones. [11] Other schools gradually followed during the 1980s. The popularity of such classes was quickly demonstrated by dramatic increases in the number of students. For example, total enrollment in daily and weekend classes in the CCBA-operated Chinese Central High School exceeded 1,400 by 1998, compared to 480 in 1973-1974, when only daily classes were offered. In some schools the weekend student population eventually overtook that of weekday students, as at Nam Kue School, which began offering three weekend classes in 1985. By 1995, the number of classes had increased to sixteen. Enrollment increased from 410 in 1988 to 741 in 1995, of which 539 were in weekend classes, compared to only 202 attending classes daily Monday through Friday [12]

It was Chinese living away from the metropolis who led the way to widespread acceptance of the once-a-week concept. In the southern part of the San Francisco Peninsula, Chinese flower nursery owners, joined by the continued influx of Chinese connected with the growing number of high-technology firms, also gave rise to an increasing demand to establish schools to transmit the Chinese heritage. Around 1960, the Chinese American Citizens' League (CACL) of Santa Clara County started a Chinese Cantonese school in San Jose. With Chinese dispersed over a wide area, it became more practical to schedule classes only once a week, on Friday evenings. The enrollment of about 100 encouraged CACL to start another school that met weekly at Palo Alto High School in the northern part of the county This school also attracted 100 students when it opened in October 1961, but enrollment dropped in successive years. By 1965, CACL had relinquished sponsorship of the school to the Stanford Area Chinese Club. [13] However, the momen tum to establish Chinese schools continued as another group of parents organized a class in the city of Sunnyvale (between Palo Alto and San Jose) in 1963. In 1964, it officially became West Valley Chinese Language School. [14] A few other schools meeting once a week were established through individual initiative; for example, in the mid-1960s, Stephen H. Chang operated such an institution in Mountain View. [15]

As immigrants settled in the region from the 1970s through the 1990s, the number of schools continued to multiply, particularly in the southern part of the Peninsula, around Silicon Valley During the 1960s, a sprinkling of such schools also began to appear in Berkeley and Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco. [16] By 2000, there were about 100 schools in Northern California, second in number only to Southern California. The San Francisco Bay Area remains the geographical region in the United States with the highest concentration of Chinese schools, with numerous schools in San Francisco-Oakland and the southern part of the Peninsula. [17]

The second largest Chinese population on the U.S. mainland was in New York City and vicinity Due to the movement of Chinese families to suburban areas, weekend Chinese classes also appeared there no later than the 1960s. As early as 1962, the Chinese Center on Long Island was offering Cantonese classes on Sundays. [18] As immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan moved into the region, other schools sprang into existence in the city outside of Chinatown, in suburban areas, in upstate New York, and in neighboring states along the Eastern Seaboard from New England to Virginia. By the 1990s, the number of schools in the region approached 100. About a quarter of these were in New York City. [19] The greater majority of these were weekend schools. One such school, the Catholic Ming Yuan Institute, became one of the few schools with campuses on both coasts. Its first campus in Queens was founded in 1978, followed by a Brooklyn campus in 1987, when the school also established a campus in Monterey Park in Los Angeles Cou nty followed in 1991 by another campus in Rowland Heights, also in Los Angeles County. All the campuses together had a total of 2,500 students in the late 1990s, enrolled in one of the school's Mandarin-Cantonese dual-track curricula. [20]

In the metropolis itself, the CCBA-operated Chinese Public School in New York Chinatown very early recognized the potential of weekend classes to accommodate the many Chinese families who were scattered in other areas of the city. In 1963, Principal Chen Guanzhong (Kuan-chung Chen) made the bold decision to offer Sunday afternoon classes in addition to daily classes, thus making the Chinese Public School the first major inner-city Chinese school to institute such a program. The success of the new format soon led to additional weekend classes, with enrollment jumping from 678 in 1963 to 1,245 in 1964, and to 2,592 in 1968. By 1975 the school's enrollment stood at 3,250--higher than any other Chinese school in America that year. [21]

The rapid influx of Chinese into Southern California from the 1970s to the present boosted the population there to the third major concentration of Chinese in America. It also caused the area to break out of the backwaters of the Chinese educational establishment and become the region with the most schools. During the early 1960s there was just one major Chinese school in the region, at the Chinese Confucius Temple (founded 1952) in Los Angeles Chinatown. [22] As the Chinese population in the suburbs of Los Angeles grew, Rev. Wilson Wu, working with a group of interested parents, founded the Lutheran Chinese School in Monterey Park in 1964. This was the first school in the metropolitan region to offer weekend classes. The school started with fifteen students in two grades, but the concept of weekend school proved popular, and by 1968 enrollment had increased to more than 130. At first, lessons were given in Cantonese, but foreshadowing changes to come in the region, by the second year a Mandarin class was ad ded to accommodate the small number of Taiwanese immigrants already settling in the city. [23] As Chinese immigrants continued to flock to Southern California from the 1970s on--at first mostly from Taiwan and Hong Kong and later directly from the PRC, as well as refugees from the Indochina Peninsula--the number of schools increased at a phenomenal rate. In 1980, even the Chinese School at the Chinese Confucius Church in Chinatown, which had offered only daily classes, had to add weekend classes to accommodate the rapid influx. [24] By the 1990s, Southern California was the region in America with the most Chinese schools--about 110, most of which used the weekend format. [25]

In all other areas around the country where Chinese congregated, parents also favored the idea of weekend Chinese-language school, and by the mid-1990s about 85 percent of Chinese schools were offering weekend sessions. Weekend school usually offers two to three hours of instruction. An important part of the curriculum is teaching the language. Due to the limited class time, the Chinese proficiency level attained cannot be comparable to that of students in the corresponding grades in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Southeast Asia, or even to that of students attending daily classes. But weekend schools can teach the fundamentals of the language and culture. To stimulate students' interest in Chinese culture, many such schools organize academic contests in vocabulary, writing (including calligraphy and essays), and oratory; they also offer extracurricular activities such as Chinese dance, martial arts, Chinese cooking, Chinese painting, and basketball after classes. [26]

In areas away from the Chinatowns, the Chinese community was usually not organized or structured. There were no Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Associations to sponsor and manage community projects. In such cases, many schools were organized and managed by groups of interested parents, usually immigrants from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the PRC. Others were sponsored by religious, cultural, and civic institutions. Since most schools operated only on weekends, few purchased or built their own facilities. In the mid-1990s, about six out of ten schools rented space in public or private educational institutions; up to one quarter held classes on the grounds of Christian churches, Buddhist temples, and other religious orders. [27]

According to a 1986 publication of the Southern California Council of Chinese Schools, the parents who started these schools were mostly suburbanites and were educated professionals and scientists. Interested individuals usually took turns being part of the administration and board of trustees for the schools, often as volunteers. Parents not only transported their children to and from school but also participated in activities organized for adults, so that the whole family participated in school-organized activities. For example, one school organized a basketball tournament, a class in Chinese painting, and discussions on special topics in which the parents participated. One year the mothers of the students sewed denim schoolbags to sell at a fundraising event. One of the fathers coached the school basketball team, which participated in a tournament. Another mother led the girls in the rooting section. [28] The school would publish periodic newsletters to keep parents and students informed. Nowadays, many s chools also keep a website on the Internet. Such participatory activities involving students' parents were rare in the more rigidly structured and administered schools in the Chinatowns.

Mandarin as the Dominant Language of Instruction

From the mid-nineteenth century through the early postwar decades, the Chinese American community was overwhelmingly Cantonese-speaking, so that Chinese schools in the United States continued to teach in the Cantonese dialect. In Southeast Asia, in contrast, the Chinese population came from a number of dialect groups, with the result that Mandarin became the common language in Chinese schools there by the first half of the twentieth century. But in Chinese America, because of the great disparity between Mandarin and Cantonese, Mandarin was treated almost as a foreign language. This began to change after World War II, when the Mandarin-speaking population increased rapidly, especially from the 1970s on. Indeed, Mandarin gradually superseded Cantonese as the predominant language of instruction in the Chinese schools.

The Mandarin-speaking community began to grow in the late 1940s as political developments in Asia spurred an exodus from mainland China and later from Taiwan. When communities of Mandarin speakers became established, parents became concerned about their offspring not retaining their ancestral heritage, like their Cantonese-speaking counterparts before them. In some areas, parents cooperated to establish Chinese classes; in others, they worked with existing schools to add classes using Mandarin as the language of instruction. A number of schools established dual-track systems, one for Cantonese and the other for Mandarin.

The number of schools teaching in Mandarin increased in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with many being organized by professionals and scientists who had been students in this country and who were by then raising families. Immigrants from other parts of China, particularly Taiwan (including mainlanders who came to the island after World War II as well as those whose forebears were already living in Taiwan before the war), played a prominent role in the development of these schools and the institutionalizing of Mandarin as the language of instruction. In many suburban areas, the predominant language of instruction shifted from Cantonese to Mandarin as the demography of the local Chinese population changed. For example, in 1970 the Institute of Chinese Culture founded what was then the only Chinese school in Houston. There were four teachers and eighty-six students, with four classes taught in Cantonese and one in Mandarin. But with the great influx of immigrants from Taiwan in succeeding decades, the school g rew and Mandarin became the predominant--and then the only--language of instruction. In 2000, the school had more than forty instructors teaching seventeen classes and grades, all conducted using Mandarin. [29]

Beginning in the mid-1970s, another group entered the United States when hundreds of thousands of refugees, including 30 to 40 percent ethnic Chinese, fled the political upheavals in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos (VCL). [30] Most of the ethnic Chinese either settled in existing Chinatowns or joined new ethnic enclaves. Their offspring, especially those of Cantonese origin, soon swelled the enrollment of existing schools teaching in Cantonese. But it was not long before associations formed by the newcomers began establishing their own Chinese schools. Due to the diverse dialect groups in the VCL. Chinese community, these schools taught in Mandarin, although dialects were sometimes used to communicate with students. One of the earliest schools was the Chinese Language School founded by the Chinese Mutual Aid Association on Chicago's North Side in 1981 [31] The America Vietnam-Chinese Friendship Association founded a school at the Los Angeles Confucius Center in 1982. The next year, the VCL Chinese, Teo Chew, Fuk ienese, and Hainan associations of Southern California pooled resources to establish Sun Yat Sen Chinese School. They were soon joined by the Cantonese and Tsung Tsin associations as sponsoring groups for five campuses in Los Angeles and Orange counties. [32] Similar schools soon appeared in other VCL Chinese communities in other parts of the country. Some schools operated Monday through Friday while others held weekend sessions only. [33] Most schools used textbooks published and distributed by the Taiwan Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (OCAC).

Members of the VCL Chinese community were similar to members of the earlier Chinatown community in their social origins. They had strong feelings of group solidarity that were expressed by forming locality-dialect group associations, one function of which was mutual help. Administration of their Chinese schools was somewhat similar to administration of such schools in the existing Cantonese community in America, in that either association leaders or designated representatives carried the responsibility. With the backing of an association and its membership, it became possible for some schools to raise funds to build or purchase their own buildings, an option often unavailable to the schools operated cooperatively by parents mentioned above. Thus the Sacramento Chinese of Indochina Friendship Association founded Sun Yat Sen School in 1982, using rented space. By 1990 the organization had purchased land and constructed a school building. By 1996 another fundraising drive had been initiated to expand the facili ty. [34] In 1981, the San Francisco VCL Chinese founded Teo Chew Community Center of Northern California using rented space in San Francisco Chinatown, and in 1988 it established Chung Shan School at the center. By 1990 the center had purchased a building to house the community center, and in 1998 the center was raising funds to purchase another building to allow expansion of the Chinese school and other center activities. [35] Similar moves took place in other major VCL Chinese communities.

Most of these institutions maintain a working relationship with the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (OCAC) of Taiwan. The commission gives these institutions free textbooks published with traditional characters and using the zhuyin fuhao (phonetic symbols) system as a pronunciation aid. [36]

Schools Teaching Simplified Characters and Hanyu Pinyin

Due to the tense relations between the U.S. and the PRC up to the 1970s, as well as the conservatism of the personnel running most Chinese schools, the teaching of simplified characters and the Hanyu pinyin (Chinese phonetic alphabet) transliteration system, which had been the standard in the PRC since the 1950s, [37] was discouraged or ignored. After the PRC resumed China's seat at the United Nations in 1971, simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin became the standard for the Chinese used in the organization's documents. Improving U.S.-China relations also raised the prospects for increasing contact, exchange, and commerce between the two nations. Simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin were introduced into university Chinese-language classes. However, in the Chinese community, where the leadership and the media had strong ties to the Taiwan government, the political atmosphere was such that Chinese-language schools continued teaching traditional characters and zhuyin fuhao.

The first Chinese school to break through the barrier was the American Chinese School of Greater Detroit, founded in 1972 in the Detroit metropolitan area, where the 1990 Chinese population was 13,533. [38] It was followed in 1976 by the United Nations Chinese School of New York City (1990 Chinese population 246,817) at the United Nations, which in 1979 moved into New York Chinatown as the International Chinese School and became the first school in a major Chinatown to teach simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin. [39] However, such schools remained rarities among Chinese community schools in America until the late 1980s.

The opening of the PRC and the relaxation of its emigration policy led to an increased influx of immigrants, students, visiting scholars, and business personnel into the U.S. Many tarried in America. After the June 4, 1989 Tian'anmen Incident, Congress passed legislation in 1992 that enabled about fifty thousand of these students and scholars to receive permanent resident status. The establishment of this new group in America gave rise to the need for schools for their progeny. When these newcomers began forming families in America, they felt that their children should learn Chinese so that they could continue their education without undue difficulty upon returning to their homeland. Others, though they may not have intended to return to China, were concerned, just as their predecessors had been, that their children retain part of their ancestral heritage. Since most existing schools only taught traditional characters and phonetic symbols, the newcomers decided to establish separate schools to suit their nee ds.

One of the earliest was Xilin Chinese School, founded by Chinese students at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois in August 1989, with 10 students; by 1995 the school had expanded to four sites in the Chicago area with 450 students. [40] Similar schools soon appeared in other parts of America. Many of these schools used textbooks published in Beijing, sponsored by the Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs. [41]

With the schools established by the new immigrant groups preferring to use Mandarin, it became the predominant language of instruction by the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, about eight out of ten pupils in the Chinese schools were being taught in Mandarin; Cantonese remained the language of instruction for only one out of every eight students. [42] Of course, this does not mean that Chinese of Cantonese ancestry have dwindled to a small percentage of the Chinese population. Rather, it partially reflects the fact that descendants of earlier Cantonese immigrants, being predominantly English-speaking and highly acculturated and integrated into American society, have much less motivation to have their children learn Chinese.

It should also be noted that there are very few schools teaching other dialects, such as Hakka, Fuzhouese, or Taiwanese, in spite of the large influx of these immigrants. This is probably due to the fact that while knowledge of such dialects is useful for maintaining the dialect-community's cultural heritage, they are of very limited use either for communication in business or for scholarly exchanges in society at large.

Credit for Scholastic Work in Chinese Schools

For more than a century, Chinese schools had existed outside the American education system, and the efforts expended by students to learn the language had never been recognized or credited to their academic records. With the Chinese school enrollment increasing to an all-time high, individual schools approached local boards of education, seeking formal credit for their students' work in Chinese schools to fulfill foreign-language requirements. It was time-consuming negotiating with reluctant bureaucrats with set ideas, but some Chinese school authorities persisted, and a breakthrough was achieved by the mid-1980s.

In 1986, the State of New York began to use a Regents rest that was open both to high school students taking Chinese as a second language and to students who had enrolled at any Chinese-language school for three years. Those who pass are given a Regents' diploma that is regarded favorably by college and university application committees; they may also receive foreign-language credits when they enter college or university. The same year, Cerritos Chinese School in Southern California, after a four-year effort, won approval from the superintendent of the school district to grant high school credits to students enrolled in Chinese classes at the school. This encouraged other Southern California schools, so that Cerritos School's success was followed in 1987 by that of Yulin Chinese School at Huntington Beach, and in 1988 by that of San Marino Chinese School. In 1990, in Northern California, after three years of effort led by Palo Alto Chinese School Vice Principal Chu Xueyun (Chu Hsueh-yun), the Palo Alto Schoo l District agreed to give six units of high school credit to students in the district who complete sixty hours of instruction at the school. The same year, Berryessa Chinese School in neighboring San Jose appointed a committee chaired by Fook-Kwan Wong to negotiate academic credit for its students attending public schools. Within three years the committee reached agreement with four local school authorities to become one of the few schools in the United States to have its curriculum recognized by several school districts. [43]

In 1993, the five major Chinese schools in San Francisco Chinatown, under the aegis of the Association of Chinese Schools in San Francisco, successfully negotiated with the San Francisco Unified School District to allow students of recognized language schools to participate in a High School Foreign Language Credit Program. Students who satisfactorily complete the Chinese school course and pass a district-wide language performance test receive credit satisfying high school foreign-language requirements. [44] In 1995, Maryland's Montgomery County School Board allowed ninth-grade students and above at Potomac Chinese School (founded 1976) to take an examination to receive foreign-language credit. [45] The possibility of receiving credit for studying at a Chinese school should be an incentive for Chinese American students to learn Chinese; however, not all schools have the same standards, and thus far only a very small minority have gained recognition from local school boards.

These contacts with the education bureaucracy of the American mainstream also allowed qualified Chinese educators to share their experience and expertise in teaching the language with the educational system of American society at large. For example, when the Chinese School of Delaware applied for and obtained credit for its students in 1992, the local school district invited it to be a partner in establishing a Chinese-language program at one of the district's high schools. Later, the program was expanded to two other schools. [46]

The National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools

As the number of schools increased all over the country, administrators and teachers felt the need to organize to exchange information and experiences as well as to promote and advance Chinese-language schools. In 1972, Dr. P. C. Chou of the Chinese School of Greater Philadelphia pushed for formation of such a group, and six schools founded the Association of Chinese Schools in the East. By 1993, the association had expanded to include schools in ten eastern states and greater Washington, D.C. [47]

With its rapidly expanding number of Chinese schools, Los Angeles soon followed the association's lead: 13 schools there founded the Southern California Council of Chinese Schools (SCCCS) in March 1976, with Tom Wu of the San Fernando Valley Chinese Club as its first president. By 2000, this had become the largest regional organization of Chinese-language schools, serving 1,200 teachers and 20,000 students. Enrollment varied from 10 at the smallest school to more than 1,000 at the largest; 65 of the 105 schools had more than 75 students. Member schools were located as far away as Fresno, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Phoenix, Arizona. [48]

In the third major center for Chinese schools, Principal Li Hongjian of the Palo Alto Chinese School convened a meeting at the Fremont Community Center of representatives from several Chinese schools to explore organizing to maintain liaisons among the growing number of Chinese schools in the region. The discussion continued in subsequent months, and by 1978 eight suburban schools (two Cantonese, two Mandarin, and two with dual tracks) meeting at the Palo Alto Chinese School were ready to form the Association of San Francisco Bay Area Chinese Schools. Soon afterward, this became the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools (ANCCS). By 1999, the association included 81 member schools with 1,200 instructors, a total enrollment in excess of 20,000 students, and schools in places as far-flung as California's Central Valley, Reno, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah. [49]

Other coordinating bodies appeared in other regions of the country. Although most schools are eligible to join the various local associations of Chinese schools, schools founded by Mandarin-speaking professionals from Taiwan predominate. The combined membership of these schools includes approximately two-thirds of all Chinese schools in the United States.

The various regional associations periodically organize competitions and events to test students' speaking, listening, reading, and writing capabilities. [50] Since 1976, regional associations and overseas Chinese cultural centers have jointly organized Chinese-language summer camps of four to eight days' duration, usually through local Chinese-language schools, at which Chinese youngsters participate in Chinese cultural activities and learn Mandarin. These camps are funded by tuition, donations from local businesses and individuals, and grants from the Taiwan OCAC. In the 1990s there were 33 campsites on the East and West Coasts and in the Midwest. The average enrollment of each camp ranged from 100 to 150. Programs were divided into commuter and live-in types. The largest commuter program, operated by the East Coast Association of Chinese Schools, had an annual enrollment of 500 to 700, while the Houston Chinese Schools Association sponsored the largest live-in program, which was attended by 450 students i n 1995. [51] The associations also organize two- to five-day summer training camps at which outstanding teachers sent by Taiwan's OCAC, as well as invited experts, work with teachers to improve their skills. Often these are scheduled at the same time as the annual conference held by each regional association. Since 1992, the Southern California Council of Chinese Schools has sponsored an annual conference at which school teachers and administrators exchange ideas on teaching methods and activities. There is also a two-week teacher-training summer program in Taiwan, subsidized by the Taiwan OCAC, which a few teachers are selected to attend. [52]

By the early 1990s, many educators were beginning to realize that a national lobbying group would have a stronger voice than individual schools would with which to call for changes. It wasn't long before developments convinced them that this was indeed the correct strategy. Earlier, a Task Force on Asian Languages, formed in 1989 at the University of California and headed by Professor Ling-chi Wang, had pushed the College Board to offer proficiency tests in the Asian languages for college entrance examinations (i.e., the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT-II). As a result of these negotiations, the College Board decided to give proficiency rests for the Japanese language beginning in 1993, to be followed by Chinese in 1994. [53] However, because of a 1991 National Foreign Language Center survey, which showed that 68.1 percent of American high schools teaching Chinese were using Hanyu pinyin, the examinations were not designed to include any questions using zhuyin fuhao, or phonetic symbols. [54] Since this wou ld put students from Chinese-language schools using Taiwan-published textbooks at a disadvantage, President Theresa Chao of the Southern California Council of Chinese Schools, together with the other regional Chinese school associations, successfully negotiated with the Center to include questions with phonetic symbols as part of the examination. [55]

In 1994, Dr. Xueying Wang of the National Foreign Language Center received a grant to organize a conference at which the National Foreign Language Center and the Southern California Council of Chinese Schools would host a meeting in Washington, D.C., of delegates from ten regional Chinese school associations, representing some four hundred schools, to establish a national organization. The National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools (NCACLS) was founded on April 16, 1994, with Theresa Chao elected the first president. [56] In 1998, the American Midwest Chinese School Association also became part of the council, followed soon afterward by the newly established Hawai'i Chinese School Association. [57] In 1999, NCACLS claimed a membership of 402 schools in 42 states with over 70,000 students. [58] The regional associations comprising NCACLS in 2000 are listed in the Table.

NCACLS's principal objectives are to bring Chinese-language schools in the U.S. in line with the education system of American society at large. Some of these aims are as follows: (1) to push local English-language schools to recognize the curriculum in Chinese school as satisfying all or part of foreign-language requirements in educational institutions in the society at large; (2) to set nationwide standards defining grade levels in Chinese-language schools in America; and (3) to upgrade teachers' qualifications through training programs. NCACLS also maintains liaisons with foreign-language teachers' associations in this country [59] and publishes the quarterly NCACLS Journal, as well as periodic newsletters to keep member schools apprised of developments at various schools. In 1995, it conducted a comprehensive survey on contemporary Chinese schools in America. NCACLS makes strenuous annual efforts to keep school authorities informed on the various aspects of SAT-II. In 1998, it also began to give an annual simulated test to help Chinese school students who planned to take SAT-II. [60]

The Chinese School Association in the United States

NCACLS and the regional school associations were led by educators who strongly favored teaching traditional characters and using phonetic symbols. Thus schools advocating simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin decided to organize a separate group. In November 1994, the same year NCACLS was founded, representatives from five schools met in Washington, D.C., to establish the Chinese School Association in the United States (CSAUS) to promote the Chinese language using simplified characters, standard Mandarin, and Hanyu pinyin. The focus of the group was to encourage the exchange of experiences and communications among Chinese schools in the U.S. and to open avenues for cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and the West. Toni Ni became the new group's first president. [61]

The number of member schools in CSAUS increased rapidly from 5 at its founding to 150 in late 1999, located in 34 states with a total enrollment of more than 20,000 students. [62] The organization convenes a national conference every two years where representatives from member schools discuss mutual concerns. One factor favoring the rapid growth of this group was the fact that most Chinese-language courses in American high schools and universities teach simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin. However, one drawback for the student is that the Chinese so learned can't be readily used in America because most Chinese publications in this country still used traditional characters. A compromise solution, favored by an increasing number of schools, is to teach both simplified and traditional characters and both Hanyu pinyin and phonetic symbols.


The Fight to Reopen Foreign-Language Schools

Before World War II, Honolulu in Hawai'i was one of the two major centers of Chinese-language schools in America. But by the 1930s, these schools were already being faced with the continued loss of Chinese language and customs and adoption of the English language and American mainstream culture by the younger generation. The closure of all foreign language schools, including Chinese schools, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 could not help but accelerate this trend.

As soon as the war ended with V-J Day on August 14, 1945, concerned members of the Asian community began to press politicians to allow their children to learn Asian languages. In February 1946, the Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction indicated that public schools would offer courses in the East Asian languages to seventh- through twelfth-grade students. A few months later, McKinley and Farrington High Schools announced that they were offering classes in Chinese. [63]

The reopening of the Asian-language private schools was a more complex process. Before World War II, the Japanese community had taken the lead in a successful legal fight against Hawai'i's attempt to restrict and control Asian-language schools. After the war, members of the Japanese American community were understandably sensitive about reestablishing Japanese cultural institutions that might regenerate wartime fears about Japanese Americans' loyalties. [64] Thus members of the Chinese American community had to be the ones to take the initiative.

Soon after V-J Day, Kau Tong, president of the board of directors of Mun Lun School, the leading Chinese-language school in pre-World War II Honolulu, met with the Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction to explore the possibility of reactivating the Chinese schools. He came away feeling that a concerted effort by the Chinese community would be needed to bring this about. At the beginning of September 1945, Dai Ming Lee, editor of Honolulu's New China Daily Press, called on the Chinese Consul General and the United Chinese Society to lead an effort to reopen the institutions. [65] Responding to these lobbying efforts, in the fall of 1946, the Commissioners of Public Education allowed Chinese to be offered in two schools, Japanese language in three schools, and Tagalog in one school. During the same period, former Mun Lun School principal Wan Chang (Yum Sinn Chang), with the help of alumnus and former teacher Bing Fai Lau and the support of influential citizens C. Q. Yee Hop (Quon Chun), Dr. Dai Yen Chang, and D. C. Chang of Wing Coffee Co., also applied to the State Commission of Public Instruction for permission to open private Mandarin-language classes using the facilities of Mun Lun School. On November 7, 1946, the Commissioners of Public Instruction granted Chang a permit to open a Chinese-language school for two hours a day, five days a week, The class enrolled a total of some 180 pupils during its existence of about a year and was the only privately run Asian-language class for high-school-age students in Hawai'i during that period. Tuition was $5 per month. [66]

In the meantime, the board of directors of Honolulu's Chung Wah Chung Kung Hui (Chinese Labor Association) passed a resolution in February 1946 to launch a campaign to reestablish the Chinese schools. On November 22, 1946, attorney Wai Yuen Char (Nicholas Char) filed a bill of complaint in the Federal District Court on behalf of Mo Hock Ke Lok Po (Mun Lun School), Chung Shan Chinese School Association, and Dai Kung (Tai Koong) Chinese School asking the court to issue a temporary and permanent injunction on the law banning Asian-language schools. The motion was signed by Kam Moi, who headed the Tai Koong School's board of directors. [67]

The next six months were spent in legal maneuvers, with an amended complaint being filed on June 26, 1947, asking the court to adjudge the law unconstitutional. Wah Chan Thorn, Wilfred Chong, and Leong Nget Cho were also added as plaintiffs. On October, 22, 1947, the three-judge District Court ruled against the Territorial Government. [68]

On November 10, 1947, representatives of the Chinese community as well as the Chinese Consul General met at the United Chinese Society to found the Hawai'i Chinese Educational Association, which proceeded to raise $17,000 in 1948 from the community to pay for legal fees to present arguments against the Territorial Government's appeal before the United States Supreme Court. The Court ruled on March 14, 1949 that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction over the case. [69]

This adverse turn of events forced the Hawai'i Chinese Educational Association to change tactics. Together with the Japanese Educational Association, it worked to obtain fifty thousand signatures petitioning the Territorial Legislature to revise the law. After intensive lobbying efforts targeting Democratic and Republican legislators, Hiram Fong, speaker of the Lower House, became the author of legislation discarding the unreasonable restrictions concerning foreign-language schools. Both houses passed the bill and it was signed into law by the governor on April 25, 1949. [70]

The favorable court decision of late 1947 cleared the way for the reopening of Asian-language schools, even though it might not prove to be permanent if the ruling were overturned. The Japanese community was quick to react, and six Japanese-language schools were operating by January 1948. After some hesitation, Mun Lun, Chung Shan, Tai Koong, and Hoo Cho Chinese schools finally reopened on March 1, 1948. Wahiawa Wah Mun Chinese School, outside of Honolulu, followed six months later, on August 29. However, no schools reopened on the outer islands, where the declining Chinese population had become too small and dispersed. Even in Honolulu, the enforced hiatus of more than seven years had dealt the schools a crippling blow. Many Chinese were becoming increasingly integrated into mainstream society and were more inclined to give priority to the English education of their children; the number of the English-speaking third-generation parents was increasing; there was more intermarriage; and numerous families had m oved some distance away from Chinatown, where the Chinese schools had been located. All these factors weakened parents' motivation to send their progeny to learn the Chinese language. Thus during the first year of the reopening of the schools, total enrollment in five schools was 781, compared to 2,538 in 1941, just before the U.S. entered the war. This was also less than the 1941 enrollment at either Mun Lun or Chung Shan schools! [71] At the time, the Chinese population in Honolulu from age fives to fifteen was approximately 4,500, so less than a fifth of the children were attending Chinese schools.

Resurgence, Then Decline

The Chinese-language schools worked diligently to reach out to the Chinese community and reorganize the curriculum to suit the new challenges. In 1953, Mun Lun School organized a parent-teacher association to facilitate communication between parents and the school and to improve instruction of the students. In 1955, the school's alumni association expanded its membership to include all who had once attended the school. These moves strengthened the school's support base in the community Adjustments were made in the curriculum targeting the preponderance of students who now had only a sketchy acquaintance with Chinese language or customs. Teachers used both Chinese and English in the classroom to explain lessons. Activities such as Chinese folkdance classes were organized to arouse the students' interest in Chinese culture. Scholarships were established to encourage students to be more diligent in studying Chinese. These and other measures helped the enrollment in Chinese schools to rebound. Enrollment at Mun L un, the largest school, climbed from 364 in 1948 to 508 in 1953 and 546 in 1960. [72] The number of students at Chung Shan, the second largest school, increased from 267 in 1948 to 338 in 1959. [73] Other schools also exhibited modest growth

The resurgence of Chinese-language education looked promising enough for Chung Shan School to expend $12,000 in 1949 to purchase an adjacent 5,000-square-foot lot to be the school playground. The continuing exodus of Chinese from Chinatown's vicinity to other districts in the city also led some educators to reevaluate their positions. As early as 1949, the Tai Koong School had moved its operations to the Kaimuki District, where many Chinese had settled. [74] In 1953, the Kong Chung School, with more than thirty students, was established in the same district. [75] In 1955, Chinese in suburban Honolulu also raised funds, with mainland businessman Joe Shoong contributing $5,500, to purchase the site for a school in Waianae. [76] About 1964, in another section of Honolulu, the Chinese Buddhist Association founded Kai Wah School, one of the earliest schools established by a Chinese Buddhist sect in the United States. [77]

However, just as the future looked fairly optimistic, the heavy hand of government again intervened, when the city marked a large part of Chinatown for redevelopment. Chung Shan School was forced to sell its property in 1961 and had to rent temporary quarters at another school while awaiting completion of a new facility that was not ready until 1974. [78] The same fate befell Mun Lun School in 1964; however, the school was able to have a new building ready for occupancy by 1972. [79] Shortly afterward, Hoo Cho School moved from its site at the edge of Chinatown to the Kaimuki District. Redevelopment also forced many Chinese to relocate in other areas of the city. In addition, increased after-school activities at English-language schools exacted a toll. All these disruptions played an important role in causing total enrollment to drop from 1,315 in 1961 to less than 700 in 1975. [80]

In the meantime, the great influx of Chinese immigrants to America after 1965 largely bypassed Hawai'i, so that the population remained predominantly American-born Chinese who did not have as strong a motivation to send their children to school as new immigrants did. Thus the main factor stimulating the rapid expansion of Chinese-language schools on the American mainland--a rapidly increasing immigrant population--was rather weak on the islands. In addition, the Hawai'i State Department of Education started an "A+ Program" in 1990 for children of working parents. The program offered guidance for cultural enrichment as well as for physical and character development, [81] and cut into the potential enrollment for the Chinese schools that met on weekdays. Thus by the mid-1990s, enrollment at Chung Shan and Mun Lun, the two major schools, had dropped to about 200 and 120, respectively.

This period also saw the appearance of weekend schools. Chee Ping Lee Lum and Rolanse Crisafulli started Sunday classes at St. Peter's Church in 1986. Two years later, the school began using the facilities of Chung Shan School in Chinatown. In 1993, it took on the name Sui Wah School. Although the tuition for the school is somewhat higher than that for the established daily schools, its enrollment has grown steadily, from an initial 13 to 136 in 1996. Other weekend institutions that appeared include Huaxing and Hanjia schools and schools established by the Chinese Lutheran and Baptist churches and the Buddhist Tzu-chi Foundation. Toward the end of the decade, several of these weekend schools formed the Hawai'i Chinese School Association that in 1998 became a member of NCACLS. [82]

At the beginning of the new millennium, the total enrollment in Honolulu Chinese schools is hovering around 600 to 700, not many more than the estimated 500 enrolled in Chinese-language classes offered in the several Honlulu private and public schools. [83] One thing is certain: Chinese-language schools in Hawai'i are being confronted with formidable challenges and an uncertain future.


The Quest for Suitable Instructional Materials

Ever since Chinese schools appeared in the United States during the late nineteenth century, they have, as a matter of course, used textbooks published for use in China. As succeeding generations of Chinese Americans became increasingly steeped in Western culture, the gap between the material in the textbooks and the comprehension of Chinese American students approached the dimensions of a yawning chasm. Although educators realized that compiling and making available instructional materials more suitable to the needs of the Chinese American audience was part of the solution to the problem, no action was taken because both expertise and funding were lacking in the small Chinese American community. [84]

In 1941, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA), spurred by American-born Walter U. Lum, publisher of the newspaper Chinese Times, started an experimental school that ran two hours a day, five days a week, teaching about fifty mostly American-born children of members, divided into two classes. Lum was the principal and one of the instructors. He seized the opportunity to implement some of his ideas on teaching Chinese to the American-born. The classes used both Chinese and English as languages of instruction. The selected materials were in the more easily understood vernacular style and were chosen with an emphasis on teaching vocabulary commonly used in contemporary society These teaching methods generated some favorable results. By spring 1943, however, the school became a casualty of the war. Many older students dropped out due to wartime distractions, and the enrollment dropped to twelve. CACA closed the experimental class in mid-1943. [85] After the war, when other issues became top priorities fo r CACA, the organization did not take the initiative on Chinese education again.

By the eve of World War II, Chinese educators in America were finding that once Chinese American students reached the fourth- or fifth-year level, they found it much more difficult to grasp the materials in China-published textbooks and began dropping out of school. [86] Although it was obvious that teaching materials suitable for American conditions were badly needed, educators in the Chinese American community lacked a central body that could lead and coordinate efforts to find a solution as they looked to the Nationalist government for support.

The Nationalist government was already an interested party since the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (OCAC) had been given responsibility for supervising Chinese overseas education in 1932. As early as 1936, an editorial committee had been formed to compile textbooks suitable for Chinese children overseas, focusing then on the large Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. However, preoccupation with resistance to Japanese aggression, and then with fighting a civil war against the Communists, precluded much action in this sector. After the Nationalist regime had been ousted from the China mainland and had taken refuge on Taiwan, it focused on the Chinese abroad as a pillar of support ensuring the regime's survival. In 1951, the Legislative Yuan included the compilation of textbooks for Chinese overseas as one of the goals in Taiwan's overseas Chinese policy.

Publishing textbooks for Chinese schools in America proved a lengthy and convoluted process from concept to realization. Since the 1940s, a series of government bureaucrats had arrived in the U.S., ostensibly to consult with educators, and after their departures were not heard from again. In 1954, Deputy Director Li Pusheng (Pu-sheng Li) promised that the OCAC would appropriate funding for editing textbooks, but again the words were not accompanied by any tangible action. In 1955, impatient with the lack of progress, San Francisco schools elected a committee--with Zhang Xiangpu (Hsiang-pu Chang, principal of Chinese Central High School) and B. Y. Leong (principal of Hip Wo School) as chair and deputy, respectively--that prepared and submitted a proposal to the Asia Foundation requesting a $10,000 grant for publishing textbooks. But negotiations failed and the effort was aborted. Visiting OCAC head Zheng Yanfen (Yen-fen Cheng) promised $3,000 in 1957 for the textbook project, but nothing substantial occurred other than a meeting of school principals convened by Consul General Patrick Sun. That same year, newspaper editor Pei Chi Liu contacted Zhuang Zexuan (Tse-hsuan Chuang), former editor of a series of textbooks for Chinese schools in British Malaya, who had settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, and convinced St. Mary's School to hire him to edit a series of textbooks. But the project died when the school, concerned that its resources were inadequate, was unsuccessful in bringing in Oakland's Chinese Community Center Chinese School as a partner. Finally, in 1960, Taiwan's Cheng Chung Book Company came out with a series of textbooks targeting North American students. It consisted of eight volumes each on Guoyu keben (national language textbook) and changshi (common knowledge) for lower primary grades, and four volumes each on Guoyu (national language), history, geography, and chidu (epistolary models) for upper primary grades. After incorporating comments from educators, the set was released for use in the spri ng semester of 1961. [87]

From the beginning, educators in America were aware of deficiencies in a series compiled by editors in Taiwan who were most concerned with passing on what they considered to be the orthodox Chinese heritage and who had limited understanding of North American Chinese society and psychology. Many lessons reflect the cultural perspective of Taiwan, which was often not relevant to Chinese American students. The books also often betrayed a heavy-handed political bias. Over the years, criticism and suggestions from Chinese educators in America resulted in revisions that rendered the textbooks somewhat more suitable for North American conditions. In 1990 the OCAC published another series of twelve books entitled Huayu keben (Chinese language textbook), and in 1993 it introduced a new set of teaching materials, entitled Children's Chinese Reader, that focused more on content and vocabulary relevant to daily communications. However, the theme or subject matter of many lessons still reflected the cultural perspective of Taiwan, which was very different from the students' perspectives and daily experiences. Other lessons were too elementary and not suited to the age or mental development of Chinese American teenagers. Hence conscientious teachers often felt it necessary to give supplementary background information in class or to compile and assign additional reading to supplement the series. However, the OCAC provided textbooks gratis to most schools, so despite the obvious inadequacies in the several editions, the textbooks were used by more than 80 percent of the schools in America during the mid-1990s. [88]

When schools teaching simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin entered the picture and CSAUS was organized, one of the first concerns was to find suitable instructional materials for these classes. When CSAUS convened its first convention in Columbus, Ohio, in October 1995, the main topic of discussion was the urgent need for suitable textbooks. The group thereupon established the affiliated Education Resource and Development Center (ERDC), charged with the mission "to assist Chinese heritage schools in their efforts to preserve the Chinese language and other positive characteristics of the Chinese culture in educating the children of overseas Chinese in the U.S." [89] CSAUS solicited and received the support of the PRC'S Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs, which sponsored the publication of a series of textbooks for Chinese in North America edited by the College of Literature, Ji'nan University Both CSAUS and ERDC played an active role in making suggestions and reviewing drafts. The first four of twelve volum es of Zhongwen (Chinese language) were released on a trial basis in the fall of 1997, and the entire set was released in 1999. [90] It is still too early to evaluate their adequacy and suitability for the North American target audience.

Teaching Non-Chinese-Speaking Students

As Chinese families left U.S. Chinatowns to live dispersed among the general population, their children grew up in an English-speaking environment and lost much of their Chinese. Another phenomenon that became more and more evident with the passage of time was the increasing number of third- or later-generation Chinese with little or no understanding of the language. Some schools met this challenge by modifying their teaching methods to include basic conversational Chinese.

In Honolulu, where Chinese Americans had been acculturated much earlier than their cousins on the U.S. mainland, Mun Lun School was teaching basic Chinese conversation to students by the early 1960s. [91] In the San Francisco Bay Area, Gordon Lew pioneered an effort to solve this problem. Lew taught at the Chinese Community Church Chinese School, a short distance from Chinatown, beginning about 1958-1959. He taught weekend classes at the Chinese YWCA from 1962 to 1965, and later in Berkeley and Oakland. In these schools he encountered many students who were being raised in an English-speaking environment away from the Chinatown core area and who knew little or no Chinese. Lew met this challenge by breaking away from traditional teaching practices and first teaching conversational Chinese, then concentrating on recognition of individual characters. Based on his experience, Lew compiled and by 1964 began publishing Chinese New Lessons, a series of illustrated textbooks that introduced elementary Chinese to juv eniles. The series saw service in about thirty schools, chiefly in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California, including the Lutheran Chinese School, the first weekend school founded in Monterey Park. [92]

Due to limited resources, however, many schools on the U.S. mainland turned a blind eye to this problem and adopted a "sink or swim" policy by mixing non-Chinese-speaking with Chinese-speaking students. This put many non-Chinese-speaking students at a disadvantage in class-work, and it often dampened or killed whatever enthusiasm they had to acquire elements of the Chinese heritage in the Chinese schools.

Traditional vs. Simplified Characters

An unresolved issue that had been thrust to the fore since the 1970s was whether to teach simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin, traditional characters and phonetic symbols, or both in the Chinese schools. Much of the controversy revolved around whether simplified or traditional characters should be used.

Due to the lack of contact between the PRC and the U.S. for two decades, as well as the dominance of the anti-PRC partisans in the Chinese American community the simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin promulgated in the PRC during the 1950s were excluded from the community, and practically all Chinese schools used only traditional characters and phonetic symbols. It was only after U.S.-China relations began to thaw in the 1970s that schools teaching simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin began to appear. Their numbers increased rapidly in the 1990s. By the end of the decade, such schools comprised about a fifth of all Chinese schools in America.

On the one hand, traditional characters are still used in publications from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and many Chinese communities abroad, including the Chinese American community On the other hand, there is little doubt that because the PRC looms in importance in world affairs, simplified characters will be increasingly important for communications in the Chinese language. And although there is much disparagement of simplified characters and Hanyu pinyin among defenders of Chinese traditional values, it is highly unlikely that the PRC will jettison these products of the language reform that have been in use for four decades. Thus it is likely that both systems will coexist in the world for some time to come. Today even though most Chinese schools in the U.S. teach traditional characters and zhuyin fuhao, more and more Chinese schools are favoring a compromise approach and teaching both types of characters as well as both transliteration methods. This imposes a greater burden on the students at such schools, but it also gives them knowledge of the language that can be applied whether they be in the PRC, Taiwan, or Chinese communities abroad. In teaching both types of characters and both transliteration methods, such schools are merely emulating the examples set by pragmatic Chinese-language teachers in an increasing number of American high school and university Chinese-language classes. [93]

Challenges Facing the Chinese Schools in America

Today Chinese schools face many challenges. A major one is to find effective methods to motivate American-born Chinese, who in the mid-1990s comprised more than three-quarters of the students at such schools, to learn Chinese language and culture with greater willingness and initiative. Different schools have devised a variety of programs, but thus far no one method has clearly emerged as being the most effective. One possible tack would be to focus on the history and society of the Chinese in America, which would have more relevance to the students; however, this would require changes in philosophy for many schools.

Due to the dispersal of the Chinese among the general population, most schools are now on a weekend schedule. On the one hand, this lessens the students' study loads and perhaps ameliorates their reluctance to attend the schools. On the other hand, the abbreviated number of class hours lowers the potential proficiency level that can be acquired in the schools. Two educators whom the writer interviewed, one in Chicago in 1996 and the other in San Francisco in 2000, asserted that students who began in the first grade in weekend Chinese schools in America and who continued their studies until graduation usually attained only the scholastic level of third- or at most fourth-year primary school students in China.

There are factors today in American society however, that encourage American-born Chinese to learn the Chinese language and culture. One of these is the growing acceptance of the idea of a multi-cultural society in the U.S., so that Chinese Americans no longer have to feel that the Chinese language isn't as socially or academically acceptable as French or Latin. Also, the more-than-tenfold increase in the Chinese population in the U.S. since the end of World War II enables the growth and continued existence of sizable Chinese enclaves in certain areas of the country, which favors retention of the Chinese heritage in those areas. In addition, modern commercial aviation has facilitated frequent travel to visit Chinese-speaking relatives and friends in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or the PRC within a matter of hours.

A second challenge is the fact that most Chinese schools operate on tight budgets and can offer only low remuneration to the instructors they hire. Scant funding is available for developmental work and research. Thus many schools have become dependent on Taiwan's Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, or on the PRC's Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, both for textbooks and for providing experts to give teachers periodic in-service training. This approach greatly alleviates the financial burden on the parents and makes Chinese school affordable to a wider constituency However, these entities across the Pacific do have political objectives that may not coincide with the long-range interests of the Chinese American community Nor are they particularly well equipped to compile (or interested in compiling) textbooks that would help Chinese American students better understand Chinese culture as it exists in America. Moreover, should either of these organizations ever downgrade its policy toward Chinese schools abroad, a heavier financial burden would naturally be transferred onto Chinese American parents.

One way to ensure that Chinese American children continue to learn the Chinese language would be for Chinese Americans to work to establish more Chinese-language courses in the school systems of American society at large. And this, in turn, would require the reconciliation of philosophical differences between Chinese school personnel and educators in the American mainstream. For example, schools in the society at large may focus on the language aspect of Chinese at the expense of the cultural heritage that is currently also part of the curriculum offered in Chinese-language schools.

A third challenge is convincing the American educational establishment to recognize the validity of scholastic work done at Chinese schools. Although the legitimacy of Chinese-language education was largely ignored during the first century of its existence in America, the emergence in recent decades of the China mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as important participants in world politics and the global economy has thrust Chinese to the fore as an important international language. Thus there has been an increasing demand to allocate funds to set up Chinese-language courses in public and private schools and institutions of higher learning. [94] Chinese-language schools, with their wealth of experience, are in an advantageous position to cooperate with local educational authorities in setting up Chinese-language classes. They can also substantially reduce the pressure on public school districts' limited financial resources if the districts can offer foreign-language credit for scholastic work at Chinese schools. A few school districts have worked out agreements to grant such credits. Students are now also eligible to take the SAT-II on the Chinese language to satisfy college-entrance foreign-language requirements. All these developments give students greater motivation to attend Chinese schools. However, Chinese educators will have to institute teacher-training and teacher-certification programs and keep up with research in areas of second-language acquisition, self-concept, and ethno-linguistic studies if Chinese-language schools are to be more universally accepted as equal partners by educational authorities in mainstream America. [95]


From the late nineteenth century on, numerous Chinese Americans attended Chinese-language schools, some only briefly and others for up to twelve years. It became a part of their life experience, adding to their knowledge and helping to formulate their worldview. At their best, Chinese-language schools inculcated the fundamentals of the Chinese ancestral heritage in younger Chinese Americans, enriching their lives, proving useful in their later careers, and thus contributing to the emergence of a multi-cultural America. The networks of friendships and contacts formed in the schools often continued into later life. Yet it is also true that, from the beginning, the acculturation of Chinese Americans into American society was a powerful factor counteracting the Chinese schools' goals.

World War II was a great divide in the development of the Chinese in America, and for Chinese-language schools as well. During the postwar years, the decreasing discrimination against, and opening of opportunities to, Chinese Americans accelerated their entry into the American mainstream. Many moved away from the country's Chinatowns. Knowledge of Chinese was no longer considered as important as doing well in English-language schools. Parents, particularly those who were third- or later-generation Chinese Americans, were less inclined to enroll their offspring in Chinese schools, although the continued influx of immigrants sustained and even increased enrollment. It became obvious, however, that both the modus operandi and the curricula of the schools needed modification to suit the changed conditions. Attempts were made to find instructional materials more suitable for Chinese Americans. Weekend schools that lightened the load on students eventually predominated.

The rapid increase in population and accompanying demographic changes due to the great influx of immigrants and refugees after the 1960s led to more changes. Earlier immigrants to America had established schools with classes in the Cantonese dialect. The waves of immigration since World War II, however, resulted in an influx of numerous non-Cantonese-speaking groups. These newcomers, mostly from Taiwan, the Indochina Peninsula, and the PRC, established their own school systems with Mandarin as the language of instruction. Political changes in East Asia during the past half-century are reflected in two separate systems of Chinese writing in the various schools: traditional characters with zhuyin fuhao as pronunciation aids, and simplified characters with Hanyu pinyin as pronunciation aids. Whatever the system used, Mandarin now supersedes Cantonese as the predominant language of instruction in Chinese-language schools--a change not shared by Hawaii, however, which was bypassed by most of the postwar immigrant s.

Chinese-language schools have made many adjustments over the years as the Chinese American community has changed. Yet their basic mission has remained the same: teaching the Chinese language and culture. Hence some contemporary authorities have called them "Chinese heritage community language schools." [96] Up to the present, most of their students have been the children of immigrant parents. Yet the great influx of immigrants will eventually dwindle, and when it does, the Chinese population in the U.S. will consist predominantly of third-, fourth-, and later-generation non-Chinese-speaking citizens. With their greater assimilation and integration into American society, these Chinese Americans may not be highly motivated to enroll their offspring in community Chinese-language schools. This is the denouement that appears to be confronting Chinese-language education in Hawai'i today

On the U.S. mainland, the current preponderance of first-generation immigrants is likely to ensure that Chinese-language schools will continue to flourish for some years to come. But it is inevitable that these schools, too, will face a scenario similar to that seen in the contemporary Chinese community in Hawai'i. Thus it is imperative that Chinese educators in America look ahead and work out long-range strategies so that that these institutions keep on being a meaningful part of the Chinese American community and of American society The recent activities of groups such as NCACLS and CSAUS indicate that some leading Chinese American educators are aware of some of these issues and challenges and are seeking solutions to them. It certainly will be a loss to this country if these institutions are unable to continue to serve effectively in enriching multi-cultural America.

Him Mark Lai is adjunct professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and past president of the Chinese Historical Society of America and of the Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco. He has written numerous books and articles on Chinese American history. Major works include Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940, co-authored with Genny Urn and Judy Yung (University of Washington Press, 1980) and a comprehensive history of the Chinese in America, Cong Huaqiao dao Huaren (From Overseas Chinese to Chinese American, Joint Publishing Company of Hong Kong, 1992).


(1.) Pei Chi Liu, Meiguo Huaqiao shi xubian [A history of the Chinese in the United States of America, II] (Taipei: Liming wenhua shiye gufen youxian gongsi, 1981), 347-348, 358, referenced hereafter as Liu, History of the Chinese in the United States II.

In this essay, the spellings customarily used by institutions and individuals in American are preferred. Individuals' names other than pinyin translations are given with surname last, per Western practice, but when only the Chinese characters are known, the name is transliterated using Hanyu pinyin with the surname first, as in Chinese practice. However, when a person is connected with the Nationalist government or is from Taiwan, the Wade-Giles spelling of the name is also given in parentheses since that transliteration is also likely to be used.

(2.) Alien wives of war veterans and American citizens were allowed entry into the United States by the War Brides Act of 1945 and the Act of August 9, 1946. From 1944 to 1953, women composed 82 percent of Chinese immigrants to America. The male/female ratio among Chinese in America dropped from 2.9:1 to 1.9:1 in 1950, and to 1.3:1 in 1960.

(3.) Liu, History of the Chinese in the United States II, 355-356, 583; Chinese Times, July 28, 1964, August 6, 1971.

(4.) Pei Chi Liu, Overseas Chinese Education in the U.S.A. (Taipei: Overseas Publication Service, 1957), 45, 51.

(5.) Liu, History of the Chinese in the United States II, 334, 339, 347-348,355-356, 583; Wang Fuquan, "Nan Jiazhou Huawen jiaoyu sishi nian" [Forty years of Chinese-language education in Southern California], World Journal, July 3, 1994, referenced hereafter as Wang Fuquan, "Forty Years of Chinese-Language Education"; "Zhonghua Kongjiao Xuexio yu xiaodonghui" [The Chinese School of the Chinese Confucius Temple and the school board of trustees] (Los Angeles: Board of Trustees of the Chinese School of the Chinese Confucius Temple, ca. 1995?), referenced hereafter as "The Chinese School of the Chinese Confucius Temple and the School Board of Trustees."

(6.) Liu, Overseas Chinese Education in the U.S.A., 40, 41.

(7.) Sarah Jane Moore, with A. Ronald Walton and Richard D. Lambert, Introducing Chinese into High Schools: The Dodge Initiative (Washington, D.C.: National Foreign Language Center at Johns Hopkins University, 1992), 4-5.

(8.) Joanna Yueh-Mei Lin, "The Past, Present and Future of the Chinese Language Schools in the United States," graduate paper, Dept. of Instructional Design/Development/Evaluation, Syracuse University, 1986. Lin took the count of the number of schools in 1978-1979 from pp. 301-302 of J. A. Fishman and B. Markman, The Ethnic Mother Tongue School in the United States: Assumptions, Findings, and Directory, technical report under NIE Grant G-78-0133 (New York: Yeshiva University, 1979), and the number in 1980 from p. 20 of J. A. Fishman, "Language-Related Ethnic Community Schools in the U.S.A.: A Catalog of School-in-Society Language Resources," in Fishman, Non-English Language Resources of the United States (A Preliminary Return Visit) ,report of the Research Section, International Studies Branch, Dept. of Education, re Grant G-00-79-01815 (New York: Yeshiva University, 1980), and Lin herself made a survey in 1985.

(9.) Shih-shan Henry Tsai, "The Chinese in Arkansas," report prepared for the Arkansas Endowment for the Humanities under Grant no. 001-112-79, May 1981.

(10.) Interview with Gordon Lew, May 17, 2000; San Francisco Chinese Community Citizens' Survey & Fact Finding Committee Report, abridged edition (San Francisco: Bank of Canton, 1969), 169; Chen-Yung Fan, The Chinese Language School of San Francisco in Relation to Family Integration and Cultural Identity (Nankang, Taipei: Institute of American Culture, Academia Sinica, 1981), 42. Gordon Lew was one of the teachers at the YWCA from 1962 to 1965. The total enrollment in Chinatown schools was 1,825 in 1966-1967, and 1,880 in 1973.

(11.) Interview with Pui Chee Leung, vice principal of Cumberland Chinese School, September 2, 3, 1999.

(12.) Catherine Liang, "Nanqiao xiaowu gaikuang" [A survey of administrative affairs of Nam Kue School], Meiguo Sanfanshi Nanqiao Xuexiao qishiwu zhounian jinian tekan [Special publication commemorating the 75th anniversary of Nam Kue School of San Francisco in the United States] (San Francisco: Nam Kue School, 1995), 29; Chinese Times, September 21, 1998.

(13.) Greta Dewberry, "Chinese Language Schools of Santa Clara County" in Gloria Sun Horn, ed., Chinese Argonauts: An Anthology of the Chinese Contributions to the Historical Development of Santa Clara County (Los Altos Hills, Calif.: Foothill Community College, 1971), 161-167; Feilimeng Zhongwen Xuexiao [Fremont Chinese School], Beijiazhou Zhongwen Xuexiao Lianhehui niankan [Annual publication of the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools] (Fremont, Calif.: Association of Northern California Chinese Schools, 1999], 92, 98, referenced hereafter as Association of Northern California Chinese Schools 1999; Sing Tao Daily, March 29, 1993. The 1993 news item in Sing Tao Daily gives the founding year as 1963. This does not corroborate Dewberry's account; however, the news item was dated 30 years after the event. Dewberry's information appeared to be more credible, in that the research was done no more than a decade after the events occurred. Unfortunately the fact that she did not disclose her sources d etracts somewhat from the credibility of her account. CACL was founded in 1959. See West Valley Chinese Language School 35th Anniversary Book, 1964-1999 (Sunnyvale, Calif.: West Valley Chinese Language School, 1999), 6.

(14.) West Valley Chinese Language School, 1964-1999, 4.

(15.) Chinese Times, August 23, 1965. The news item states that the first school session would be held on September 5, 1965, a Sunday At that time the school had operated for at least a year.

(16.) Interview with Gordon Lew, May 17,2000. Lew taught a once-a-week class at a Berkeley church and another in Oakland in the late 1960s. Among the sponsors of the Oakland school was March Fang, who was already an elected official. She was instrumental in renting classrooms in a public school for the Chinese school.

(17.) World Journal, February 19, 1994; Association of Northern California Chinese Schools 1999, 11. Membership of the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools is between 80 and 90; however, a number of schools, especially major daily schools in San Francisco and Oakland, are not members. Hence the total number of schools in Northern California is probably closer to 100.

(18.) Li [Louie] and Pete Louie, "Chinese Center on Long Island Educational Programs," Journal (West Hempstead, N.Y.: Chinese Center on Long Island, 1996), no pagination.

(19.) Huang Zhaozhi, "Wenhua xinchuan zai jiayou" [Add oil to pass on the torch of learning], Haihua zazhi (Taipei, Taiwan, November 1989), 26-28.

(20.) Asian-American Times, March 6, 1999.

(21.) Liu, History of the Chinese in the United States II, 339.

(22.) Ibid., 354-355.

(23.) International Daily News, May 11, 1987.

(24.) "The Chinese School of the Chinese Confucius Temple and the School Board of Trustees."

(25.) Wang Fuquan, "Forty Years of Chinese-Language Education"; Nan Jiazhou Zhongwen Xuexiao Lianhehui shi zhounian tekan Editorial Committee, Nan Jiazhou Zhongwen Xuexiao Lianhehui shi zhounian tekan [Tenth anniversary special publication of the Southern California Council of Chinese Schools] (Los Angeles: Southern California Council of Chinese Schools, 1986), 23, referenced hereafter as Tenth Anniversary Publication of the SCCCS.

(26.) Suray H. Lee and Chang-Yu Miao, "Extracurricular Activities," in Xueying Wang, ed., A View from Within: A Case Study of Chinese Heritage Community Language Schools in the United States (Washington, D.C.: National Foreign Language Center, 1996), 33-38; Tenth Anniversary Publication of the SCCCS, 10.

(27.) Work Group, "Quan Mel Zhongwen xuexiao ziliao diaocha jianbao" [Summary of statistics from a survey of Chinese-language schools in the United States], NCACLS Journal, no. 3 (September 1996), 13-18, referenced hereafter as "NCACLS Survey"; Feng Yiwen, ed., Bridge of Heritage: The Institute of Chinese Culture, 30th Anniversary Special Edition (Houston: Institute of Chinese Culture, 2000), 8, 6-7, 12-15, referenced hereafter as Feng, Bridge of Heritage. The Institute of Chinese Culture (ICC) is an example of a school that has its own facilities. In May 1970, the Xiushidun Huaren Daxue Lianyishe (Houston Chinese Colegiate Club, which later became the Zhonghua Xueren Lianyishe [Chinese Professionals Club]) passed a motion to establish a Chinese school to teach Chinese to members' children and appropriated $200 as seed money Classes began in the fall, using five classrooms rented from Rice University In 1988, the ICC bought a building that was used as the school until it was destroyed by fire in 1995. The board of trustees then purchased a new facility that opened for use in 1998. At different times the ICC made its facilities available on weekdays for ESL classes for adults and also for use by an elementary school.

(28.) Tenth Anniversary Publication of the SCCCS, 2, 10.

(29.) Feng, Bridge of Heritage, 12-15; International Daily News, May 1,2000.

(30.) Some writers use "Southeast Asia" rather than "Indochina" to avoid the colonial implications of the latter term when referring to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. However, Southeast Asia covers many more countries than the named trio, and the present writer considers it too vague for the context of this essay Hence the abbreviation "VCL" (for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) has been adopted as being more specific.

(31.) Midwest Area Chinese American Resources Guide (Chicago: Chinese American Librarians Association--Midwest Chapter, 1995), 27-28.

(32.) Meiguo Yuenan Huayi Lianyihui tekan [Special publication of the America Vietnam-Chinese Friendship Association] (Los Angeles: America Vietnam-Chinese Friendship Association, 1985), 382; Centre Daily News (Los Angeles edition), December 28, 1984, April 23,1987.

(33.) Meiguo Yuenan Huayi Lianyihui tekan, 382.

(34.) Chinese Times, August 26, 1988; Chung Hing News, September 3, 1998; World Journal, November 18, 1996; Newcomers News, July 13, 1984, August 28, 1998; list of Chinese-language schools on San webpage, July 5, 1999; International Daily News, May 22, 2000. A number of schools established by VCL Chinese were named "Chung-shan" or "Yat-sen" for Sun Zhongshan (Sun Chung-shan, or Sun Yat-sen), the leader of the revolution overthrowing imperial rule and establishing the Republic of China. Schools with such names are found in Los Angeles, Alhambra, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Houston, and Seattle.

(35.) Chung Hing News, September 3, 1998; World Journal, November 18, 1996; Newcomers News, August 28, 1998.

(36.) After the founding of the Republic of China, a 1913 Conference on Unification of Pronunciation, held under the auspices of the Republican government, adopted the Mandarin dialect as the standard for Guoyu, or the "national language." The conference also adopted a set of thirty-nine phonetic symbols derived from Chinese characters. In 1918, these symbols were officially issued to the public by the government as zhuyin zimu, or the National Phonetic Alphabet. In 1930, the Kuomintang government changed their name to zhuyin fuhao, or National Phonetic Symbols. The symbols are also referred to as "bo-po-mo-fo" due to the fact that these are the names for the first four symbols.

(37.) After the founding of the PRC, an official Committee on Language Reform was established with character simplification as its top priority. In 1956, the first official list of simplified characters was published. A comprehensive list was published in 1964 that included 2,238 simplified characters. These characters are called jiantizi ("simplified characters"), as contrasted with the traditionally used characters that they replaced. The latter were termed fantizi ("complex characters"); however, Taiwan prefers to refer to them zhengtizi ("standard characters").

The simplified characters came from the following sources: (1) adoption of simpler ancient forms that do not have the associated radicals present in the modern forms, as well as adoption of ancient farms that were being used interchangeably with mare complex characters in modern society; (2) adoption of simplified forms commonly used among the population instead of the more complex characters; (3) changing grass script (caoshu) characters into regular script (kaishu); and (4) new characters developed among the populace after the founding of the PRC. In 1969 and 1974, the Singapore Minister of Education also promulgated 2,287 simplified characters, mast of which were same as those used in the PRC (with some differences). In 1981, the ministry erased the differences by adopting the simplified characters of the PRC.

The second major effort of the Committee an Language Reform was to develop a new alphabetic system. It decided that it was more suitable to use the Latin alphabet because of its universality than to devise a new system using phonetic symbols. The resulting Hanyu pinyin system was officially promulgated in 1958.

(38.) CSAUS News, no. 2 (April 1995).

(39.) China Daily News, July 31, 1984, February 10, 1987. The school was founded in 1956 to teach Chinese to the children of United Nations personnel. Starting as a class of about 20 pupils, enrollment increased as children from other parts of the city were accepted and the class became the United Nations Chinese School. In 1979, the school moved from the United Nations to the Yung Wing Elementary School in New York Chinatown and changed its name to International Chinese School.

(40.) Chinese American News, June 8, 1991; interview with Linda Yang (Yang Balin), a founder of Xilin School, October 26, 1996; China Press, April 26, 1994; Anqi, "Xiri 'Xiaohonghua' nufang Meilijian: Qiu Ling nushi yu ta de Xiwang Zhongwen Xuexiao" [Yesterday's little red flower is in full bloom in America: Ms. Qiu Ling and her Xiwang Chinese School], Jiang Hai Qiaosheng, no. 18 (September 16, 1999), 11-12; China Press, January 12, 1994, June 9, 1995; ShiAng Huang, MingDong Huang, WeiWei Xue, Xuan Chang, trans. Helen Zhou, Bo Huang, Eileen Xie, "First Chinese School in San Diego Teaching Simplified Mandarin," paper presented at the Sixth Chinese American Studies Conference, "From Gold Mountain to the New Millennium," San Diego, July 9-11, 1999.

Xilin is an abbreviation of xiwang cheng lin, expressing the hope that Xilin School would educate as many students in Chinese culture as there are trees in the forest. Xiwang ("hope") was a thought uppermost in the minds of many newcomers. A Maryland school founded in 1993, and another founded in Los Angeles in 1995, were named Hope Academy. An editorial in the CSAUS Newsletter in September 1995 declared the task of CSAUS and the schools as being to implement Project Hope among Chinese overseas by transmitting Chinese culture to the next generation and promoting U.S.-China exchanges. (Project Hope is a program initiated in 1989 to improve educational conditions in China's poor areas and to promote youth development.) Another name favored by PRC immigrants is Huaxia, the ancient term for China. There are Huaxia Chinese schools in Houston (founded 1993), New Jersey (founded 1995), San Diego (founded 1997), and Long Island, New York (founded 2000).

(41.) Chinese Times, June 10, 1996.

(42.) Joanna Yueh-Mei Lin, "The Chinese Language Schools in the United States," unpublished paper, Syracuse University 1986; "NCACLS Survey."

(43.) Rae Shae Chen, "Obtaining Credit from Local School Districts," in Wang, ed., A View from Within, 51-54; World Journal, February 25, 1991; Berryessa Chinese School 20th Anniversary CD-ROM webpage (San Jose, Calif.: Berryessa Chinese School, 2000).

(44.) Ju-Ching Liu, "Awarding Credit through Testing: The Case of the San Francisco Unified School District," in Wang, ed., A View from Within, 59-61; interview with Principal Catherine Liang of Nom Kue School, January 13, 1996; Sing Tao Daily, January 9,1993; Chinese Times, May 19, 1998.

(45.) China Press, December 21, 1995, March 26, 1996.

(46.) Shu-han Chou Wang, "Improving Chinese Language Schools: Issues and Recommendations," in Wang, ed., A View from Within, 63-67.

(47.) Wu Dati (Wu Ta-ti), "Meidong Zhongwen Xuexiao Xiehui: Manhuai rexin qianglie shiming, baocun Zhonghua wenhua yichan" [The Association of Chinese Schools: Filled with enthusiasm and an intense sense of mission to preserve the Chinese cultural heritage], World Journal, weekend supplement, July 18, 1993; "An Introduction to the Association of Chinese Schools," downloaded from the Association of Chinese Schools webpage, August 31, 1999.

(48.) Qiaoxun, April 1, 1976; March 16, 1977; World Journal, December 11, 1990; February 19, 1994; Sing Tao Daily, September 14 1997; downloaded from Southern California Council of Chinese Schools webpage, September 8, 2000.

(49.) World Journal, February 19, 1994, May 24, 1998; Association of Northern California Chinese Schools 1999, 5.

(50.) For example, in 1998 the Fort Worth-Dallas Region Association of Chinese Language Schools organized a competition for best story-telling and recitation, the Southern California Council of Chinese Language Schools held one contest in Chinese calligraphy and painting and another on general knowledge of the Chinese language, and the Association of Chinese Schools in the eastern U.S. organized a competition testing contestants listening comprehension. NCACLS Journal , vol. 3, no. 1 (January-March 1998).

(51.) Cathy E-Ling Chai, "Chinese Language Summer Camps for Students," in Wang, ed., A View from Within, 39-45. Besides these short-term summer camps, some Chinese-language schools offer intensive summer programs that are more academic and project-oriented and that run Monday through Friday.

(52.) Yu-Min Peng, "Short-Term Professional Development for Teachers," in Wang, ed., A View from Within, 47-50. For example, in 1995 almost 300 teachers attended the 1995 workshop in San Jose organized by the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools. The Taiwan OCAC sent three teachers to lecture and work with the attendees on such topics as "teaching through songs and games," "teaching composition," "child psychology," and "how to teach the new Chinese teaching materials for children." Sing Tao Daily, August 12, 1995.

(53.) San Francisco Examiner, April 25, 1993.

(54.) According to The China Press, June 23, 1994, there are 162 public and private high schools in the U.S. offering courses in the Chinese language. The top twelve states in terms of number of schools are Massachusetts (21), California (19), New York (17), Ohio (13), New Jersey (11), Maryland (6), Michigan (5), Pennsylvania (5), Indiana (4), Missouri (4), Minnesota (4), and Oregon (4).

(55.) Theresa Chao, "Zhongwen yuyan ceyan jiang cheng SAT-II de kemu" [A Chinese-language examination will be one of the subjects in SAT-II], World Journal, weekend supplement, July 18, 1993.

(56.) Zhou Bangzhen, "Zhongwen xuexiao pojian muhou de shou: Fang Meiguo Guojia Waiyu Zhongxin Wang Xueying boshi" [The hand behind the Chinese-language schools breaking out of their cocoons: A visit with Dr. Wang Xueying of the National Foreign Language Center], World Journal, weekend supplement, May 26, 1996. Dr. Wang was a student at the Xi'an Foreign Languages Institute of the PRC. She came to the U.S. in 1884. She taught Chinese at the University of Maryland, received a master's degree in education at Western Illinois, and in 1987 was awarded a doctorate in education from the University of Maryland. She then joined the National Foreign Language Center.

(57.) Quan-Mei Zhongwen Xuexiao Lianhe Zonghui Tongxun [NCACLS Newsletter], October 24, 1998; "Quan-Mei Zhongwen Xuexiao Lianhe Zonghui di-wu jie nianhui xinwen'gao" [Press release for the fifth annual convention of NCACLS] (NCACLS, August 20, 1999).

(58.) Zonghui jianjie [Brief introduction to the Council], NCACLS webpage, 1999.

(59.) Ding Shu, "Mai xiang zhuliu waiyu jiaoxue de zhongwen xuexiao: Quan Mei Zhongwen Xuexiao Lianhe Zonghui chengli er zhounian zhi huigu" [The Chinese-language schools that are taking strides toward the mainstream society's foreign-language education: A look back at the second anniversary since the founding of the National Council of Associations of Chinese Language Schools], World Journal, weekend supplement, April 21, 1996. In 1995, the NCACLS and National Foreign Language Center (NPLC) worked with UCLA to run a three-month certificate pilot program for fifteen teachers, one each from schools belonging to the SCCCS, as a first step toward upgrading qualifications of Chinese school teachers to those of mainstream middle school Chinese-language instructors. See International Daily News, March 17, 1995. In 2000, the ANCCS collaborated with the University of California at Berkeley Extension to offer courses taught by Stella Yu-Mei Kwoh as part of a certificate program in "Teaching Chinese as a Second Languag e," to prepare Mandarin Chinese speakers who want to teach Chinese as a second language at any level of mainstream schools. See World Journal, September 7, 2000, and announcement on ANCCS webpage, September 12, 2000.

(60.) International Daily News, September 26, 1998.

(61.) "Quan Mei Zhongwen Xuexiao Xiehui zhangcheng" [CSAUS bylaws], December 14, 1997; CSAUS News, no. 1 (February 1995).

(62.) CSAUS News, no. 2 (June 15, 1998); Grace Li, "Chinese School Association in the United States and Its National Conferences" (Washington, D.C., December 3-5, 1999), downloaded from CSAUS webpage, March 16, 2000.

(63.) New China Daily Press, February 20, 1946; Hawai'i Chinese Journal, June 20, September 28, 1946.

(64.) Dennis M. Ogawa, Kodomo no tame ni, For the Sake of the Children: The Japanese American Experience in Hawaii (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1978), 351.

(65.) Dai-ming Lee, "Qing Mei Zong-lingshi Zhonghua Huiguan zhujun lingdao jiejue dangqian zhi Huaqiao jiaoyu wenti" [A request to Consul General Mei and gentlemen of the United Chinese Society to take the lead to solve the problem facing us in Chinese education], New China Daily Press, September 3, 1945. The New China Daily Press was the organ of the Chinese Constitutionalist Party, members of whom founded Mun Lun School and continued to have close ties to it.

(66.) Minutes of Meeting of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, Territory of Hawaii, February 13-14, September. 26-27, November 7, 1946; Yum Sinn Chang, "Bexiao jinxi xiaoqing zhi huigu yu qianzhan" [Glancing back and looking forward at the golden anniversary celebration of our school], Minglun Xuexiao jinxi jinian [Golden jubilee, Mun Lun School, 1911-1961] (Honolulu: Mun Lun School, 1961), 20-21, 32, referenced hereafter as Golden Jubilee, Mun Lun School. News items in New China Daily Press, June 20, July 20, 22, 1946, stated that Mun Lun School intended to start Mandarin classes "to enable the children of Chinese in the community to learn the language of the ancestral land." The afternoon classes, with an enrollment limit of 150, were to run from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. four days a week, while evening classes, with an enrollment limit of 30, were to run from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. three nights a week. The enrollment limit of 180 coincides with the numbers stated in Chang's essay in Golden Jubilee, Mun Lun School cited above, and the classes referred to probably were conducted under the terms of the permit for this class. Under a law passed by the territorial legislature in 1943, only students in fifth grade and above were eligible to take foreign-language courses. Chinese classes for adults did not come under this ban, for a (Guoyu Zhuanxiu Yexiao (Special Mandarin Evening School) for adults was started by the Kuomintang in the spring of 1946. See The Chinese of Hawaii Who's Who, 1956-1957 (Honolulu: United Chinese Penman Club, 1957), 43.

(67.) Kongsun Lum, ed., Tanshan Huaqiao banli waiyuxiao an tekan [Hawai'i Chinese in the foreign-language school case, a memorial publication] (Honolulu: Hawaii Chinese Educational Association and Chung Wah Chung Kung Hui, 1950), 103-106. York Hon Hu was born on Kauai, Hawai'i, and was brought by his mother to China to learn Chinese. After his return to the islands he learned Western cooking in his father's restaurant. He was hired by the Territorial Hospital in Kaneohe and eventually became chief superintendent of the Food Department. Hu was elected in November 1945 to be president of the Chinese Labor Association in 1946. The Chinese Labor Association had been founded in 1915 with 30 members as the Zhongguo Gongdang (Chinese Labor Party). It changed to its present name in 1929. At that time its approximately 40 members were mostly workers and small businessmen. In 1931 its membership increased to exceed 100. The organization was not a particularly influential one in the community. Hu and other advocates of reestablishing Chinese schools appeared to be using the organization more as a convenient platform to launch their campaign.

Kam Moi immigrated to Hawai'i in 1899. He was owner of a poultry shop and also one of the founders of Tai Koong Chinese School. Hawai'i-born Wai Yuen Char was a World War I veteran. He graduated from Creighton University in 1922 and began practicing law in Honolulu. From 1923 to 1929, he served as legal consultant to the Shanghai Customs Office in Shanghai before resuming his practice in Hawai'i. He was the first Chinese American attorney to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court.

(68.) Lum, Hawaii Chinese in the Foreign Language School Case, English section, 2-3, 8-9; Chinese section, 110-112, 117, 133-136. Honolulu-born Wah Chan Thorn graduated from University of Hawai'i and obtained his master's degree from Northwestern University. He was a businessman active in the Chinese Labor Association, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and other Chinese community associations. Wilfred Chong was a graduate of the University of Hawaii and was associated with Wing Coffee Company Hawai'i-born Leong Nget Cho was educated in China and was a Chinese teacher at Honolulu's Chung Shan School. A. L. Wirin was a graduate of the Harvard University Law School. Since the 1930s he had been consultant to the American Civil Liberties Union. He had successfully fought cases in California for Asians' rights to buy and sell real property as well as fishing rights.

(69.) Lum, Hawaii Chinese in the Foreign Language School Case, Chinese section, 160-161, 171,185,189-193.

(70.) Ibid., English section, 2-3; Chinese section of the same publication, 200-208, 269-274.

(71.) Ibid., Chinese section, 164-171, 224-225, 239-240, 251, (255-256, 260-261.

(72.) Golden Jubilee, Mun Lun School, 20-21, 26, 83, 93.

(73.) The figure for 1948 is from Lum, Hawaii Chinese in the Foreign Language School Case, Chinese section, 225. The figure for 1959 comes from a count of individual students in class photographs published in the commemorative publication Chung Shan School, 28th Commencement, 1959 (Honolulu: Chung Shan School, 1959).

(74.) Ka Tak Lum Loui, "Dagong Xuexiao zhi guoqu yu xiankuang" [The past and present of Tai Koong School], Tat Koong School, 1st Commencement, 1957 (Honolulu: Tai Koong School, 1957), no pagination, referenced hereafter as Loui, 'The Past and Present of Tai Koong School."

(75.) Kong Chung School Annual, First Anniversary and Commencement (Honolulu: Kong Chung School, 1954), no pagination.

(76.) The Chinese of Hawaii Who's Who, 1956-1957, 42.

(77.) Rev. Cho Yin M. Lew, "Biye zengyan (Advice to the graduates): The Principal's Message," Kai Wah Chinese School Annual, 1973 (Honolulu: Kai Wah Chinese School, 1973), no pagination.

(78.) Chung Shan School, 29-30th Commencement, 1961 (Honolulu: Chung Shan School, 1961) , no pagination; Len Huff, "Chinese Language Schools in Hawaii Today" (Honolulu: Hawaii Chinese History Center, 1975).

(79.) D. C. Chang, "A Synopsis of the Mun Lun School History; 1911-1986," Mun Lun 75th Anniversary, 1911-1986 (Honolulu: Mun Lun School, 1986), 51-61.

(80.) The 1961 enrollment figures are from Morris Lai, "Chinese Language Schools Now Revived," Chinese Chamber of Commerce Golden Jubilee, Fiftieth Year, 41; the other statistics come from Len Huff, "Chinese Language Schools in Hawaii Today" which contains results of a survey made between February and May 1975.

(81.) Communication from Professor Loretta Pang, Kapi'olani Community College, Feb. 18, 2000.

(82.) Sui Wah School 10th Anniversary Book, 1986-1996 (Honolulu: Sui Wah School, 1996), 8; interview with Chee Ping Lee Lum, March 24, 1996; Chinese Yellow Pages of Hawai'i, 1994 (Honolulu: Chinese Community Broadcasting, Inc., 1994) , 448-449; International Daily News, May 27, 2000.

(83.) "Appendix C: Public and Private High School Enrollment in Chinese in 1991," in Moore et al., Introducing Chinese into High Schools, 133-139. In 1991, there were six high schools in Honolulu teaching Chinese to 445 students.

(84.) Lin Shiheng, "Meiguo Huaqiao jiaoyu gailun" [An introduction to Chinese education in the United States], Qiaowu yuebao [Overseas Chinese affairs monthly], Feb. 1936, 1-10.

(85.) Walter U. Lum, "Tongyuan jiaoyu yanjiu weiyuanhui baogao" [Report of the Education Research Committee of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance], and Kwai Fong Chun, "Yijiusisan nian chunji jiaowu baogao" [Report of the administration of the school, spring semester, 1943], both in Yijiusiyi nian zhi yijiusiqi nian zonghui xiang di-sijiu qi pingyidahui baogaolu [Report of the Grand Lodge for 1941 to 1947 to the Nineteenth Appraisal Conference] (San Francisco: Chinese American Citizens Alliance, 1947) , A1-A6.

(86.) Liu, Overseas Chinese Education in the U.S.A., 53.

(87.) Huaqiao Zhi Editorial Committee, Huaqiao zhi zong zhi [General section, gazetteer of Chinese overseas] (Taipei: Huaqiao Zhi Editorial Committee, 1964 revised edition) , 315; Liu, Overseas Chinese Education in the U.S.A., 53-54; Liu, History of the Chinese in the United States II, 357-358.

(88.) Pay-Fen Serena Wang, "Academia Curriculum," in Xueying Wang, ed., A View from Within, 21-25.

(89.) "Introduction to CSAUS Education Resource and Development Center," downloaded from CSAUS webpage, September 20, 1996.

(90.) China Press, August 26, 1997.

(91.) Visit to Mun Lun School in Honolulu and conversation with Principal Yum Sinn Chang, June 1964.

(92.) Interviews with Gordon Lew, April 3,1996, July 31, 1999, May 17, 2000; Chinese Times, July 28, 1964; International Daily News, May 11, 1987.

(93.) Pay-Fen Serena Wang, "Academia Curriculum," in Xueying Wang, ed., A View from Within, 2 1-25; Moore et al., Introducing Chinese into High Schools, 8, 58, 63. A 1988 survey by the National Foreign Language Center, based on a questionnaire to teachers teaching Chinese in high schools, resulted in the following information:
 Native Native
 Chinese English All
 Speakers Speakers Teachers
Type of characters taught:
Simplified only 14.7% 0.0% 10.6%
Traditional only 38.2% 61.5% 44.7%
Simplified and Traditional 47.1% 38.5% 44.7%
Number of teachers 34 13 47
Type of romanization used:
Hanyu pinyin 76.5% 46.2% 68.1%
Gwoyue Romatzh 14.7% 7.7% 12.8%
Yale 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Zhuyin fuhao 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Hanyu pinyin, 5.9% 0.0% 4.3%
Gwoyeu Romatzh [*]
Hanyu pinyin,Yale [**] 2.9% 15.4% 6.4%
Hanyu pinyin, 0.0% 7.1% 2.1%
zhuyin fuhao
Hanyu pinyin, 0.0% 7.1% 2.1%
Gwoyeu Romatzh,
Hanyupinyin,Yale, 0.0% 7.1% 2.1%
zhuyin fuhao
Hanyu pinyin, 0.0% 7.1% 2.1%
Gwoyeu Romatzh, Yale,
zhuyin fuhao
Number of Teachers 34 13 47

(*.)After introducing the zhuyin zimu, the Nationalist government promulgated a second transcription system, Gwoyeu Romatzh (G.R.), or National Romanization, in 1928, which used combinations of letters of the Latin alphabet for transcribing segmental phonemes and also tones. Thus four different combinations of letters are used to represent the four tones of each phoneme. Although this method eliminated the confusion overtones, many critized it as being too complex and cumbersome.

(**.)The Yale system for transcription of Chinese was developed at Yale University specifically for English-speaking learners. It differs from the formerly widely used Wade-Giles system in that different letters of the alphabet are used for aspirated and nonaspirated initials, rather than using the same initial letters with and without an apostrophe to indicate aspiration and nonaspiration; all diacritical marks are also eliminated. Phonemes defined and transcribed in the system are somewhat different from those in either the Wade-Giles or Hanyu pinyin systems.

(94.) William H. Honan, "Language Study Shifts Again: Chinese Is Up, Russian Down," New York Times, October 9, 1996; "Appendix C: Public and Private High School Enrollment in Chinese in 1991," in Moore et al., Introducing Chinese into High Schools, 133; and China Press, June 23, 1994. According to the Modern Language Association of America, 26,471 students were enrolled in Chinese-language courses in two- and four-year colleges in 1995, up 36 percent from 19,490 students in 1990. In 1990, the number of students studying Chinese ranked eighth among foreign-language students in institutions of higher learning. By 1995, it had risen to sixth place, overtaking Latin and Russian. At the high school level, there were 6,637 students enrolled in Chinese classes in 138 public and private high schools in 1990-1991. By 1994, the number of schools had increased to 162.

(95.) Shu-han Chou Wang, "Improving Chinese Language Schools: Issues and Recommendations," in Wang, ed., A View from Within, 63-67.

(96.) This is a term used in Wang, ed., A View from Within: A Case Study of Chinese Heritage Community Language Schools in the United States.
Name Location
Association of Chinese Schools Eastern Seaboard from New England to
 Virginia, Ohio
Southern California Council of Southern California, Arizona
Chinese Schools
Midwest Chinese Language School Illinois, Indiana, Kansas
Association of Northern California Northern California, Nevada, Utah
Chinese Schools
Houston Chinese Schools Association Houston (Texas)
Dallas-Fort Worth Chinese School Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas), Oklahoma
Northwestern Association of Washington, Oregon, Alaska
Chinese Language Schools
Michigan Chinese Teachers Association Michigan
Colorado Association of Colorado
Chinese Language Schools
Association of Chinese Schools in the Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Southeastern United States Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina
American Midwest Chinese School Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado
Hawai'i Chinese School Association Hawai'i
Name Year Founded No. of Schools [*]
Association of Chinese Schools 1974 100
Southern California Council of 1976 105
Chinese Schools
Midwest Chinese Language School 1976 11
Association of Northern California 1978 81
Chinese Schools
Houston Chinese Schools Association 1982 13
Dallas-Fort Worth Chinese School not available 14
Northwestern Association of 1984 26
Chinese Language Schools
Michigan Chinese Teachers Association 1989 14
Colorado Association of 1993 1
Chinese Language Schools
Association of Chinese Schools in the 1993 29
Southeastern United States
American Midwest Chinese School 1998 7
Hawai'i Chinese School Association 1998 not available

(*.)These numbers are approximate because membership in each regional association fluctuates. For example, the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools' 1998 webpage claimed a membership of around 90, but its annual publication for 2000 listed 81 member schools for 1998-1999.

National Foreign Language Center, based on a questionnaire to teachers teaching Chinese in high schools, resulted in the following information:
 No. of No. of No. of No. of No. of
State or Schools Schools Schools Schools Schools Students, Teachers,
Territory 1956-57 1978-79 1980 1985 1995 1995 1995
Alabama 3 5 185 26
Alaska 2 69 9
Arizona 1 1 5 759 84
Arkansas 1 20 3
California 20 53 60 101 223 36,794 1,928
Colorado 2 140 17
Connecticut 1 1 5 5 413 57
Delaware 2 2 1 1 180 12
District of 1 2 2 1 1 25 2
Florida 11 14 871 93
Georgia 5 7 1,048 52
Hawai'i 8 6 6 7 8 900 51
Idaho 1 1 9 1
Illinois 6 7 10 33 2,761 278
Indiana 8 241 31
Iowa 4 130 17
Kansas 4 1 150 10
Kentucky 4 2 78 7
Louisiana 2 2 215 22
Maine 1 27 4
Maryland 6 9 11 19 2,978 204
Massachusetts 1 7 8 7 13 2,394 196
Michigan 3 3 5 15 1,057 127
Minnesota 1 1 3 180 28
Mississippi 1 2 501 6
Missouri 1 5 2 165 16
Montana 1 0 0 0
Nebraska 1 2 62 10
Nevada 2 73 7
New Hampshire 1 75 4
New Jersey 14 14 17 28 5,326 426
New Mexico 1 1 1 18 5
New York 3 17 14 32 71 11,786 721
North Carolina 5 5 295 38
North Dakota 1 8 2
Ohio 1 4 5 4 14 1,132 98
Oklahoma 1 5 166 24
Oregon 3 5 510 41
Pennsylvania 4 4 8 15 1,576 124
Rhode Island 1 3 78 8
South Carolina 3 3 86 13
South Dakota 0 0 0
Tennessee 5 5 212 32
Texas 1 3 20 44 5,256 430
Utah 4 244 21
Vermont 1 21 2
Virginia 2 2 6 16 1,334 122
Washington 1 9 19 2,208 98
West Virginia 2 30 6
Wisconsin 1 1 1 7 251 29
Wyoming 0 0 0
Total 39 128 143 304 634 82,675 5,542

(*.)Liu Overseas Chinese Education in the U.S.A., 37-50, was the source for the 1957 statistics for mainland schools. The Chinese of Hawaii Who's Who, 1956-1957 (Honolulu: United Chinese Penman Club, 1957), 38-44 , was the source for statistics for schools in Hawaii. Joanna Yueh-Mei Lin, "The Past, Present and Future of the Chinese Language Schools in the United States," was the source for the 1978-79, 1980, and 1985 statistics. The 1995 statistics came from a 1995 NCACLS survey (see Appendix B). Each survey used somewhat different definitions of a Chinese-language school, so that the surveys from the different years are not directly comparable. For example, the Liu survey of the 1950s excluded schools meeting once per week. Similarly, the 1978-79 survey did not show any school in Texas. Yet the weekend school run by Houston's Institute of Chinese Culture had already been in operation since 1970! The 1995 survey, however, included both weekend and weekday schools. Thus these statistics should be regarded as a pproximate, since most were on the low side.
 National Council of Associations
 of Chinese Language
 Schools Survey 1995 [a]
Number of schools 634 schools in 47 states
Class schedule Weekends: 85.2%
 Weekdays: 14.8%
Enrollment Range: 8 to 2,750
 Average: 130
Weeks of instruction, Annual: 31.89 weeks
average Summer sessions: 7.91 weeks
Weekly hours of Weekend: 2.82 hours, one-day sessions
instruction, average After school: 8.25 hours total, Mondays
 through Fridays
 Curriculum: Chinese language and
 cultural activities
Classroom locations On campuses of universities, high schools,
 elementary schools: 351
 In Buddhist, Catholic and Protestant
 churches: 142
 In own facilities, public facilities, Chinese
 association clubhouses, cultural
 organizations, Chinese
 or business establishments, on rented
 property, at home, and other locations: 70
 65.1% of respondents indicated they
 pay rental fees
 (Based on 88.8% response)
Not-for-profit status 82.5%
Remuneration for 90.4% of schools had paid instructors
instructors Range of hourly rates: $8 to $50
 Average hourly rate: $14.57
 (Based on 57.4% response)
 Chinese School Association
 in the United States
 Survey, 1996 [a]
Number of schools 83 schools in 32 states
Class schedule
Enrollment Range: 20 to 900
Weeks of instruction,
Weekly hours of Weekend: 3.00 hours, one-day sessions
instruction, average After school: 10 hours total, Mondays
 through Fridays (level of instruction
 corresponds to that in PRC)
Classroom locations Rent space in public
 educational institutions: 46
 Rent space from religious
 institutions: 33
 Other facilities: 4
Not-for-profit status 85%
Remuneration for Range of hourly rates: $8 to
instructors $40 Average hourly rate: $14
 1995 NCACLS Survey
Number of instructors 5,540 [b]
Level of education Ph.D. or equivalent: 4.2%
 M.A. or equivalent: 30.8%
 B.A. or equivalent: 49.7%
 Graduates of normal schools
 or equivalent: 9.6%
 Graduates of professional schools,
 institutes, or equivalent: 5.7%
 (Based on 65% response)
Teaching experience in 4.4 years average
North American (Based on 40.5% response)
Chinese schools
Experience in teaching 16.4%
English as a second (Based on 41.7% response)
language (ESL)
 1996 CSAUS Survey
Number of instructors 1,300 [b]
Level of education Ph.D. or equivalent: 9%
 M.A. or equivalent: 30%
 B.A. or equivalent: 50%
 Formerly Class 1 or special
 class teachers in PRC:
 over 15%
Teaching experience in
North American
Chinese schools
Experience in teaching
English as a second
language (ESL)
 1995 NCACLS Survey
Total number of classes 6,942
Students per class Range: 3 to 38 [c]
 Average: 11.9
Principal textbooks used Huayu keben [Chinese textbook] revised
 (sponsored and published by Taiwan
 OCAC): 82.9% of students Ertong Huayu
 keben [Chinese textbook for children]:
 1.1% of students
 You'er Huayu siben [Four Chinese
 textbooks for young children]: 0.9%
 Guoyu keben [Mandarin textbook]: 2.7%
 of students Ertong Hanyu [Chinese for
 children], Chuji Zhongguo yuwen
 [Elementary Chinese] (published in
 Beijing, PRC): 2.1% of students [d]
 Other textbooks, such as Ya-Mei
 Zhongwen fudao jiaocai--Nan Jiazhou
 [Asian American supplementary materials
 for teaching Chinese--Southern
 California], Zhongwen rumen
 [Introductory Chinese],
 teaching materials compiled by the
 instructors, and newspaper clippings:
 10.3% of students
 (Based on 89.7% response)
Principal language Mandarin (putonghua): 79.7% of students
used in instruction Cantonese: 12.8% of students
 English: 6.3% of students
 Others (Southeast Asian languages, other
 Chinese dialects): 1.2% of students
 (Based on 72% response)
Students who 74%
understand more (Based on 72% response)
than 50% of class
instructions given
in Mandarin
Type of Chinese Traditional characters: 94% of students
characters taught Simplified characters: 1.8% of students
 Both traditional and simplified
 characters: 3.3% of students
 (Based on 79.6% response)
Type of phonetic Phonetic symbols: 81.3% of students
alphabet taught Hanyu pinyin: 4.6% of students
 Both phonetic symbols and Hanyu pinyin:
 8.8% of students
 Others (other phonetic alphabets or
 none at all): 5.3% of students
 (Based on 52.1% response)
 1996 CSAUS Survey
Total number of classes
Students per class
Principal textbooks used Most generally used textbooks in
 order of frequency: Chuji Zhongguo
 yuwen [Elementary Chinese]; Hanyu
 [Chinese language]; teaching
 materials compiled by instructor.
Principal language Mandarin (putonghua): 97% of
used in instruction students English: 3% of students
Students who 93%
understand more
than 50% of class
instructions given
in Mandarin
Type of Chinese Simplified characters: 97% of
characters taught students Both traditional and
 simplified characters: 3% of
Type of phonetic Hanyu pinyin: 97% of students
alphabet taught Both phonetic symbols and Hanyu
 pinyin: 3% of students
 1995 NCACLS Survey
Total number 82,675
of students
Students' grade level Grade K: 11.8% of students
in English language Grade 1: 11.0% of students
schools Grade 2: 10.8% of students
 Grade 3: 10.7% of students
 Grade 4: 11.2% of students
 Grade 5: 9.7% of students
 Grade 6: 8.5% of students
 Grade 7: 7.7% of students
 Grade 8: 6.7% of students
 Grade 9: 4.9% of students
 Grade 10: 3.6% of students
 Grade 11: 2.1% of students
 Grade 12: and above: 1.3% of students
 (Based on 42.4% response)
Principal language Mandarin: 25.1% of students
used by students in English: 14.5% of students
daily conversations Mandarin and English: 43.4% of students
with parents Other languages of Chinese dialects:
 17.0% of students
 (Based on 42.1% response)
 1996 CSAUS Survey
Total number 13,000
of students
Students' grade level
in English language
Principal language
used by students in
daily conversations
with parents
Birthplace: Students: Father: Mother: Students:
USA 76.3% 5.9% 3.6% 22%
Taiwan 12.7% 57.2% 61.0% 3%
Hong Kong 2.7% 10.9% 10.8%
Mainland China 3.4% 12.8% 11.4% 64%
Vietnam, Cambodia, 3.6% 11.0% 11.3%
Other localities 1.3% 2.2% 1.9%
(Based on 41.4% response)

(a.)The 1995 NCACLS survey covers all schools that responded to the survey and includes both NCACLS and CSAUS members as well as non-members, whereas the 1996 CSAUS survey includes only member schools teaching simplified, or both traditional and simplified, characters. There is a discrepancy in the two sets of statistics on the percentage of students being taught simplified and traditional characters. Part of the reason is probably due to the fact that some new schools had been established and some existing schools had turned to the teaching of simplified characters, or both simplified and traditional characters, during the interval between the two surveys.

It should be noted that the Taiwan Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (OCAC) makes a distinction between Chinese-language schools meeting several days a week and those meeting once a week. Zhonghua Minguo qiaowu tongji [Republic of China Overseas Chinese affairs statistics] (Taipei: Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, July 1998) tabulated only 47 Chinese schools in America belonging to the first category--44 primary, 1 junior middle, and 2 senior middle schools. Of the 645 educational institutions that are listed as remedial and literacy classes, most would be once-a-week schools. The total of 692 in the OCAC count is greater than the number given in the 1995 NCACLS survey. Part of the discrepancy can be explained by new schools that appeared after completion of the 1995 survey. Also, the survey work group may have missed contacting some institutions.

(b.)Instructors of cultural and sports activities not included.

(c.)A single class sometimes includes students at different grade levels.

(d.)A series of textbooks sponsored by the PRC's Overseas Chinese Affairs Office was published in 1997, too late to be included in this survey.
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Author:Lai, Him Mark
Publication:Chinese America: History and Perspectives
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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