Tuition-based Program Would Bring Chinese Students to Ann Arbor High Schools.
The key things to know, from the article:
A new plan* proposed to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education Wednesday evening would place up to 200 students from China in the city's high schools each year...The district is considering a partnership with BCC International Education Group, a Chinese-American company that has already created similar programs bringing Chinese high school students to Dexter and Saline.*This idea (or something quite similar) was actually discussed, and rejected, a few years ago in the Pat Green era.
Here's the letter I just sent to the school board. You can send emails to the school board at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Board of Ed--
I'm writing to ask you to oppose the proposed contract with a firm to bring in up to 200 Chinese tuition-paying students.
We already have at least two exchange programs in the schools--Youth for Understanding and AFS--both programs devoted to bringing students from around the world, including--among many other countries--China. Did you know that YFU started in Ann Arbor as an exchange program with Germany post-World War II? Or that AFS's origins lie in the aftermath of World War I with a similar goal of inter-cultural understanding?
Ann Arbor also hosts the USA's U-18 hockey program.
I'm not sure exactly how many students come through these three programs but I think it's something in the range of 100 students.
All of these programs rely on host family volunteers, and it's not so easy to find them. I know intimately what is involved, because we hosted a student from Sweden last year and a student from Uruguay the year before, both with YFU. Both were great experiences but it does involve a fair bit of work, and (I know I'm repeating myself) it's not easy to find host families.
I asked several families this year if they could take a student, and none of them felt they were in a position to do it. And, in fact, just today I got an email asking for a host family for a student who needs to leave his current family--and that happens too, sometimes, in the middle of the year.
I do understand the desire to bring in money for the district, but I don't think this is a good way. And I would say this even if I hadn't heard, today, that the Oxford School District has had a very negative experience with this company.
With the current exchange programs the student in my house brought in the same per-pupil funding as every other student in the district, thus adding to the district's census.
I'm asking you to vote no on this.
Consider subscribing to Ann Arbor Schools Musings by Email!