This was a very interesting essay to read. I'm Chinese American and was born in the US, the daughter of immigrants. I, too, had to attend a once/week Chinese language school. However, mine was held every Friday night (which meant missing ALL the school dances, football games, etc.).

I think this is why so many of the teens dropped out--we wanted to be like our fellow American teens and engage in regular high school activities. We also didn't invest much time in the homework as we knew the grades didn't count. It was more important to do well in "real school." I don't know of any students who lasted throughout high school.

The only reason I can even speak Mandarin today is because my monolingual grandmothers lived with us for a few years when I was a child and I spoke it every day with them. I have long forgotten all the Chinese characters I once learned, except for how to write my own name. If you don't use it, you lose it.

I'm also uncertain how creating content that would appeal to North Americans on a cultural level but be filmed in Chinese would help preserve the language acquisition. Many children of immigrants are desperately trying to fit in with their peers. Interesting approach and I'd be interested to hear if it works.

9X Top Writer. Proud grad of CA public schools. Committed to justice & leadership development. Wife & mom of 2 girls & 2 big dogs. Love to eat almost everything