The People's Republic of China has been providing much of the capital to keep the U.S. government operating through its purchase of American debt. Now it is helping to shape our school curricula as well. The Chinese government is providing teaching materials and instructional assistance free of charge to school districts across the United States for the teaching of Chinese language and culture. The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in Los Angeles adopted the program by a 4-1 vote in January of this year, though not without some controversy.
"Beads are beads," Superintendent of Schools Eric Ely said about a student suspended from a Schenectady New York middle school for visibly wearing a rosary around his neck. "Many, many students wear beads every day," he told WTEN, News 10 in Albany. "They just don't display them."
Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told Congressional Quarterly May 4 that a Senate floor vote on his Keep Our Educators Working Act of 2010, S. 3206, is likely in the coming weeks. The bill is designed to prevent layoffs of municipal school teachers whose jobs are threatened by reduced local property tax revenues by appropriating $23 billion in federal funds during fiscal 2010 to the states for local educational assistance.
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is embroiled in a battle over textbook content that, media reports claim, could dictate public school curricula nationwide. As the single largest textbook purchaser in the country, Texas is a major decision-maker regarding content of books available on the market, since publishers naturally cater to their most lucrative client. Republicans on the SBOE have made headlines in recent months overturning what they call a "subtle trend" toward liberalism and negativity about America in the high school social studies curriculum.