China and Italy are paying for the development of Advanced Placement Chinese and Italian courses and tests for use in US high schools. (The two cultures that gave us pasta!) Passing the exams at the end of the courses gives the students college credits. Most college-bound students take AP courses also to improve their chances of getting into top colleges, as it shows they can handle academic challenges.
I’m really excited about this, even though I won’t be a direct beneficiary.
AP language courses until now have included Spanish, French, and German, in the longstanding Eurocentric tradition. When I was in high school, many of my friends who emigrated from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan or even Singapore weren’t able to get credit (either for the high school foreign language requirement, or for AP college credit) for fluency in a language that is more sophisticated and complex to master than any Roman-alphabet language. It seemed very unfair. Most of them worked damn hard to master English when they arrived.
But now with the AP Chinese course, for the younger generation of Chinese in America, this will be rectified. And for some, it might give them more motivation to enroll and stay in Saturday Chinese school!