分类 教育 下的文章

4月2日: 联合国"世界提高自闭症意识日" - 2015年主题: 职业: 自闭症优势

haiyang-tiantang

每年的4月2日是世界提高自闭症意识日,它在2007年12月18日由联合国大会62/139号「世界提高自闭症意识日」决议(http://www.un.org/zh/documents/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/62/139&Lang=C)指定,目的以提醒全世界提高对自闭症的认识程度,更加关注自闭症患者。

自闭症的发病率为1/150,为强调这个比例的重要性,在2009年的世界自闭症日,美国有志愿者在纽约市的中央公园放置150辆婴儿车,以唤醒民众的关注。

世界提高自闭症意识日2015年主题是:职业:自闭症优势

据预计,80%患有自闭症的成人处于无业状态。研究表明,雇主忽略了一些自闭症人群比普通人群更强的能力,例如:图案识别能力与逻辑推理能力。另外,他们对细节的关注能力也比普通人群更强。要释放这些潜力,必须克服的障碍有:职业培训缺乏,对就业的支持仍不充分以及较为普遍的歧视。

背景信息

自闭症是一种因神经系统失调影响到大脑功能而引致的终身发展障碍,症状在三岁前出现,患者多为儿童,分布在许多国家,不分性别、种族或社会经济地位,其特征为社交互动能力缺失、言语和非言语沟通困难,行为、兴趣和活动有限和重复。

自闭症在世界所有地区的儿童中流行,发病率高,对儿童及其家庭、社区和社会产生巨大影响。

发展中国家往往由于缺乏卫生资源,使自闭症给家庭经济带来巨大的困难。与这些疾病相关耻辱和歧视仍然是诊断和治疗的巨大障碍。自闭症和其他精神障碍没有被列为儿童死亡主要原因,从而导致发展中国家公共政策决策者,以及捐助者对它的长期忽视。

2008年生效的《残疾人权利公约》的宗旨是促进、保护和确保所有残疾人充分和平等地享有一切人权和基本自由,并促进对残疾人固有尊严的尊重。这是促进全社会具有包容性和充满爱心的工具,并确保所有患有自闭症的儿童和成年人过上充实和有意义的生活。

联合国大会一致通过4月2日为世界提高自闭症意识日(A/RES/62/139) 。强调需要帮助和改善儿童及成人自闭症患者的生活。

联合国秘书长潘基文2015年就世界提高自闭症意识日致辞
2015年4月2日

公众对自闭症谱系障碍的认识日益提高,对许多这类患者的公共服务也在增加,对此我深受鼓舞。世界提高对自闭症认识日不仅推动了对这一病症的更多了解,也使家长能够寻求早期干预治疗,同时它还呼吁将自闭症患者充分融入社会。这一纪念日还邀请政策制定者鼓励学校向患有自闭症的学生敞开大门。只要有足够的帮助,他们就能够——也应该——在其社区的中心接受教育。现在是为自闭症患者争取更多获取服务的机会和工作机会的时候了。

今年,我很高兴地推出一个就业方面的“行动呼吁”,邀请企业做出聘用自闭症患者的具体承诺。我们鼓励公共部门、企业和小企业仔细审视他们对自闭症患者的看法,花时间了解有关情况,为自闭症患者创造改变生活的机会。

有自闭症的人有巨大的潜力。他们大多数有出色的视觉、艺术或学术技能。随着辅助技术的使用,不言语的自闭症患者可以交流和分享他们的隐藏能力。认识到自闭症患者的才能,而不是只看到他们的弱点,对于建立一个具有真正包容性的社会至关重要。

然而,即使在对自闭症认识最为先进的地方,患有自闭症的成年人中也有80%以上的人没有工作。这就是为什么雇主了解他们独特而且往往卓越的技能并为他们创造其可以脱颖而出的工作环境是如此之重要。

要实现这一点,就必须要有适当的职业培训、充分的支持以及世界各地可以让人们成功融入员工队伍的招聘过程。

联合国大会呼吁为自闭症患者提供更多的机会和机遇。大会在宣布4月2日为世界提高对自闭症认识日的同时,还呼吁为公共管理人员、服务提供者、护理者、家人和非专业人士提供培训,以帮助自闭症患者融入社会,使他们能够充分发挥潜力。

在世界提高对自闭症认识日,让我们联手为自闭症患者创造最好的条件,使他们能够为一个对所有人而言公平和可持续的未来作出自己的贡献。

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCQ6XfUmBk0
联合国秘书长潘基文2014年致辞的视频(YouTube)
中国大陆观众请看腾讯视频: http://v.qq.com/boke/page/w/0/x/w0127ysdjjx.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRp-U3JICdY
纪录片:遥远星球的孩子(YouTube)
中国大陆观众请看爱奇艺视频: http://www.iqiyi.com/a_19rrk3rfyt.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6zud-PCTkg
纪录片:我和地球人相处的日子(YouTube)
中国大陆观众请看土豆视频: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/xCPgTfS3eBU/

A Tale of Two Cultures: Chinese and American Side-by-Side

wang1

By Cheng Wang

It is hard to overstate the world’s growing interest in China, as if a sleeping giant has finally been awakened. Today, the world wants to know China more than ever before for political, economic, cultural and business reasons. When building casinos in Las Vegas or Singapore, for example, builders need know what the Chinese like; some houses in major American cities are designed with Chinese lifestyle in mind, having two kitchens, one for cooking Chinese food only. On the other hand, “China is too old, too diverse, too deep, and too complex,” an American who studies China frets, “I spend my whole life studying it and will die ignorant.”

I agree that even if you read about China all day, everyday, you might still only succeed in skimming the surface. Skin color, eyes, and hair show physical differences between people whose ancestors came from Western Europe and those whose ancestors came from Asia, but what is most dissimilar between the Chinese and the Americans is how our minds work. To offer a revealing glimpse into this puzzle, I choose to examine Chinese culture by discovering patterns in various aspects of our lives. Connecting the dots between the people today and our ancient past, some things never change, especially the core values inside us not only define who we are, but how we live our lives. The following analyses will depict the culture of a people with traditional morals that resonate in our everyday lives, perhaps subconsciously, values that are due in no small part to influences from our ancestors over 2,500 years ago.

The Doctrine of the Mean

“The average American household with at least one credit card has nearly $15,950 in credit-card debt (in 2012),” according to CreditCards.com, and the average interest rate runs in the mid to high teens at any given time. In contrast, Chinese people do use credit cards often, but make full payments each month and reap rewards from the credit card companies. This one habit leads to better credit scores, which qualifies people for the lowest interest mortgages when we need them. These loans become much more manageable over time. Foreclosures are daily headlines in the aftermath of the most recent severe financial and housing market crash, but Chinese families have mostly managed to avoid it. It’s not because we buy and sell properties at the perfect time; but by not over-leveraging and having access to favorable interest rates, we are able to ride out the bad times.

Somehow, this seemingly simple idea cannot be taught. Credit card did not even exist in China during the time most of us immigrated to America. Instead, Confucian “Doctrine of the Mean” sowed its seeds many generations ago and has become innate over time. “The virtue embodied in the Doctrine of the Mean is of the highest order. But it has long been rare among people,” in Analects. No one seems to give credit to Confucius for keeping millions of Chinese away from financial troubles in today’s “live now, pay later” American society, but that’s exactly how he taught us 2,500 years ago. Living life in moderation is like inheriting the best immune system against modern chronic financial “diseases”. This same logic may have worked in China for the last three decades of fast growth without a single economic recession, defying Western economic history. If Western forecasters keep missing the target in their predictions about the Chinese economy, the knowledge of its culture could be a missing element from their crystal ball.

Emotional and spiritual lives

Do Chinese people go out and seek consultation for their own emotional issues? It is rare, if ever. One would need to think twice before opening a psychiatric practice in a Chinese community to make a living. A feng-shui Master or a palm-reader might be far more lucrative. Chinese families fight like all others and the divorce rate is comparable to other ethnic groups. But we have an old saying that everyone seems to stick to religiously: family ugliness should never be made public. It is about saving face. On the other hand, moral rectitude and filial piety are essential traditional values emphasized in Analects. Obeying the moral strictures of one’s society and respecting elders and authority have played pivotal roles in our everyday personal interactions.

What about seeking spiritual consult? Most of the Chinese do not appear to need it. Supernatural faith was a topic of discussion put to an end by Confucius by emphasizing a practical approach to understanding life, not death, 2,500 years ago. Mao Zedong reinforced these ideas and put the last nail in the coffin in recent history. “Seeing is believing”, a saying that may not have originated in China, but we have the same version in Chinese. We must believe in our own ability more than anything else to handle the circumstances thrown at us. Nevertheless, from time to time in China and Chinese communities in America, there is a realization that something has been missing, especially in the last thirty years. After the God-like idol, Mao Zedong, died, no one could fill the void. This “faith crisis” has never disappeared from mainstream discussion, and it has been rated as number one of the top ten current social issues in China. After decades of fast economic growth, when many people have gotten more than they need for their everyday lives, it is only natural that more people start contemplating what else is out there worth living for. “Christianity Sweeps China”, an article in the November 2014, The Economist, could explain the growing emotional and spiritual needs among the Chinese today.

Healthcare

People of our generation (45-60s age groups) grew up poor and starving, yet nowadays, many Chinese seem to look a lot younger than their age. Chinese may represent the healthiest ethnic group in America especially when measured by how little we collectively spend on our healthcare. There is no data on the Chinese living in America, but if measured by spending on healthcare as share of income, it is 3.8% for China urban households from official 2013 data vs. 17.9% for the U.S. Squandering money won’t fix many chronic heath issues, but good habits with self-discipline can go a long way. The company I work for issues a total benefits statement from HR each year, indicating $8,000 as annual health insurance subsidy to me as one employee. I barely use one-tenth of that amount in any calendar year, but our employee-paid healthcare premiums keep going up each year. Needless to say others have used more than their share in the pool. It looks like a perfect system: people who don’t need it happily stay away and people who rely on it daily don’t feel guilty because someone else is subsidizing most of it. And it creates plenty of highly paid insurance jobs along the way for shoveling paper. It seems to be a “win-win-win” situation -- until half of the population becomes obese, or worse, simultaneously nudging the world’s biggest economy over the brink of bankruptcy.

The Chinese are healthier not because we are born with superior genes or grew up in healthier living conditions. Living through the mid-60s to late 70s’ Cultural Revolution in China we experienced a severe shortage of all kinds of food with a few limited items by rationing. For example, cooking oil was rationed at 0.15 kilo (5.29 oz.) for one person per month in my hometown. The province leader of my northeastern city in China earned the nickname “Chen SanLiang”, which literally means "Five ounces Chen" and was known all over the country for making that stringent rationing rule.

Now that food is plentiful for everyone, obesity has become an epidemic everywhere we look, but concerns are not nearly as dire for Chinese people in America. People become more self-conscious and anticipatory in nature after living through the ebb and flow of countless political turbulence, famines, economic hardship, and now, an all-you-can-eat society.

Parenting

Some may believe that Brooklyn is the world capital of obsessive parenting. I would add, only until they come to know the young Chinese parents today. With the Chinese economy on a positive trend in recent years, as soon as young couples in major cities have steady jobs with the financial means to cover their daily needs, their children’s futures become the top priority of the whole family, often including the grandparents. One of my friends since college in China has a daughter in Beijing who just had her first child. They both mentioned to me that they are looking for a way to immigrate to North America for the sole benefit of having access to better education for that child, who is not even one year old. They are not alone among the people in major cities in China. Recent Xinhua News revealed that a family had spent more than an equivalent of $200,000 to buy a 40 sf apartment in the best school district of a major city in China. The apartment is too small to be habitable, but it is a sure ticket for their kid to go to that school. The most recent surveys show that nearly half of the wealthy Chinese plan to move abroad within 5 years (America is one of the top destinations) and their No. 1 reason is for a better future for the children.

In China, as well as in America, Chinese parents practice “obsessive parenting” as a reflection of their high expectations for their children, thus, paving specific paths the parents think are the best way for their children to accomplish lofty goals. As a result of all of this in general, the young Chinese are clearly better than average in their schoolwork, and later, their financial well-beings. But very few ever reach the top in any field. It is not hard to understand that very successful human beings are unlikely to be raised in authoritarian parenting environments; rather, they grow up in a self-driven and passion-oriented society. A question went viral online world-wide at one time: why can’t China create people like Steve Jobs? One should notice that Steve Jobs and many others in that elite group that have lived, or are living in this era in America, are not “created”. They are all self-made.

Education

“He who excels in study can become an official,” (学而优则仕) from Analects, is a Confucian motto for education most Chinese parents believe in whole-heartedly. A Bloomberg report indicates that in 2013 half of all international high school students coming to America were from China. Foreign students contribute over $30 billion each year to the American economy with Chinese families chipping in more than 1/3 of that gigantic pie. It is common for parents, and many times, grandparents, to sacrifice by saving up the funds necessary to send their families’ “only child” halfway around the world to American schools. Ironically, according to the latest 2012 OECD's Pisa tests, Shanghai students earned the top ranking with the highest scores in all 3 subjects: Math, Reading and Science. Somehow, few Chinese parents feel like jumping up and down to cheer about this huge honor, and their burning desires to send their children across the Pacific have never been fiercer. In the meantime, American high school students ranked around #25 on the same test.

Questions continue to resound in American media: why does high spending not translate into high scores? They may have overlooked social and cultural factors that should have a lot more to do with it than the amount of money spent per student to produce high-scorers. In China, under the weight of societal pressure from parents, neighbors and school leaders, students strive to have better scores starting from their first day in elementary school. While Chinese parents wish to have an extra day in a week to be chauffeurs for their children, hopping to and from after-school tutoring sessions, American parents are more likely to protest about schoolwork overload. Most young people in China have no choice but to put their curiosities and sensitivities aside to work double time on passing tests constantly thrown at them. And all these tests are pretty much based on a “one question-one solution” model. Today’s “pressure cooker” kind of learning environment seems to suck the young life out of them, leaving no time and energy for free thinking and imagination.

My schoolboy years coincided with the Cultural Revolution during the mid-60s to 70s in China, when knowledge was considered to be poison to the soul. Intellectuals were ranked at the very bottom in social status -- after workers, peasants, soldiers, merchants, landlords, and so on, famously labeled as “the stinking 9th” -- the idea encouraged by Chairman Mao at the time, the most successful “peasant king” in the world. I spent a lot of free time reading the books I loved, when I was not in the farm fields learning from peasants or on factory floors learning from workers (I did spend several of my school years doing just that). Books were extremely limited at that time, so I often read some good books 3 times over and found it extremely beneficial. I still do it when I find great books today -- like drinking Chinese tea, it is the third refill that will bring out the finest aroma.

Things are all different in China now. I often return to visit, and it was a few years ago when my niece was in high school. Every evening we went out to eat, she would do her schoolwork for the 30 minutes while we waited for the food to be served. A dozen people were sitting around the dinner table with us, yet no one appeared surprised because that was how a normal school kid should be in the eyes of society. When I was her age, I don’t recall burning the midnight oil, working to pass exams the way all students do in China today.

Then, in the 1980s, more elated than dismayed at my schooling age with no schools, envisioning the moon to be brighter on the other side of the Pacific, I hopped on a plane with borrowed money, migrating to this otherworldly land as it seemed to me at the time. My first “culture shock” in America was a movie I saw. My first American landlord asked me what kind of movie I’d like. War and action, I said. He recommended “First Blood”. Growing up in a conformist culture, following the group and trying to fit in was the only norm. Rambo had my jaw dropped and eyes wide open the entire time. The movie, the best action and war scenes I had ever seen with no clear line between right and wrong (distinctly contrasting with traditional Chinese literature), is all about individualist, depicting a culture of survival of the strongest to the core.

That was the mid-80s. I started out in America with $200 in my pocket as an economics graduate student at the University of Cincinnati. Delivering Chinese food was my first side job. I’ve pulled off over the years: Economics Ph.D program by training, principle tech staff by vocation, achieving financial freedom in my early 50s, enjoying our homes on both sides of the Pacific, and then some. For people who want to learn, they never stop doing it, and with great joy. For those under pressure to learn, they will more likely stop learning after passing each school test, especially once the first paycheck hits their bank account regardless of which top school they graduated from. School testing scores are hardly indicative of what people can do in their post-graduate lives. All the school leaders, parents and students are fully aware of that, but that happens to be the only “game” in the system especially in China.

Can learning be taught as a pleasure, a grace, and a joy instead of a race on a treadmill? We will leave it to the educators, parents, politicians and students in both countries to ponder the possibilities. Quite a list of household names in America, those who famously broke away from top colleges to pursue their own passions have created real-life success stories far beyond Hollywood’s imagination. It proves that there are much better ways to learn.

The meaning of food

“How to govern a state?” in Analects, a disciple asked Confucius. “Only sticking to three rules would do,” Confucius replied, “powerful military, abundant foodstuff, and people’s loyalty.” In Chinese history, countless uprisings were caused by severe famines due to natural disasters or political upheavals, which often led to the end of one dynasty and the start of another. Mao Zedong founded New China with the same strategy, followed by landless peasants who chose not to starve, but fight to the death. “People regard food as heaven,” (民以食为) a well-known axiom, emphasizes how important food means to people throughout Chinese history. Current Chinese leaders, with no exception, place stability as the first and foremost priority above everything else. It means food on the table for every family in a country with half of its population living in subpar conditions. Essential social stability is ensured by ample food to go around, which comes from sufficient job availability for those who want to work. Jobs are generated by sustaining a high enough level of economic growth. All of these are a result of massive government-directed investments even at the risk of overwhelming the capacity of the current economy.

In America, the same phrase “people regard food as heaven” has different meanings for the Chinese today. It is all about food qualities and authenticities. Not all Chinese foods are created equal. Most Americans can name quite a few major styles like Szechuan, Cantonese, or Peking duck. Some Americans, who like to experiment, could ask waitresses in Chinese restaurants if they have a separate menu for the Chinese, and be prepared for things like braised whole fish, chicken feet and pig tails. This is the starting point. Depending on how far you are willing to go, especially in southern China, almost nothing is off-limits. I have to say for a foreigner to understand Chinese people, its history, and culture, understanding Chinese food would be a good place to start (not the “Panda Express” you see around every corner in America). Foreign visitors in China would easily notice the importance of evening dinner; the atmosphere often reflects how things have gone during the day. Sometimes, the most important issues get worked out right there, after a few rounds of drinks. Coming to dinner prepared with what to say, and what to skip, is an art in Chinese culture.

Chinese families in America are among the least prone to going out to eat. Most of us seem to be born with a gift for cooking, thus, fast food is often regarded as the last resort. You will easily notice that most Chinese working professionals bring lunchboxes to the office. This ritual could explain part of the reason for decreased morbidity with first-world chronic issues like obesity and Type II diabetes. Family cooking at home can mean a lot more than just saving money. It is about family members being together and the only gathering time for that day. Kids growing up this way are more likely to understand and carry on the values of family dinners, such as more family time, healthier meals, sharing duties among members of the family, and last but not least, lower cost. How often can one have a ‘multiple birds with one stone’ scenario like this?

The art of relationship

Relationships are often referred to as “the key to the mint” in China. One prominent American businessman points out that “relationships, logic, then law” is the order of doing things in China, vs. “law, logic, and relationships” in America.

In Analects, the direct translation of relationship is “the way to deal with the world” (处世之道); it is an art (and way of life) for those who are very good at it. One college friend worked for years as a VP for a commercial conglomerate in Beijing. His only job function was to have dinners with people in crucial positions, government or private organizations. At one gathering of college friends in the mid-2000s, after a few drinks, he pulled out a phonebook, a small notebook with its color faded and pages creased from overuse. He boasted that there were 1000 contacts in it and he memorized every one of them by heart. One of our companions did not believe it, opened it up and randomly asked a few names. He responded with their phone numbers and affiliations instantly. This artist went on. One time in Beijing, he drove his Jaguar and got caught by the police when he made a left turn on red. “Let me make a phone call first,” he said to the police. That police officer then received a message over his walkie-talkie, and let him go instantly. We all started to believe him this time. Somehow, a few years later, after a few too many drinks, my artist friend said the wrong thing to the wrong people. He left his position and came to America. Like being in exile, he grumbled to me while sipping wine at my dining room table, thousands of miles away from Beijing.

The artistry of relationships can be profound in Chinese culture. For foreigners who want to understand it, it is more about suggesting rather than overtly articulating. Therefore, the true meanings are often implied between sentences in a crucial conversation. “Overdoing is worse than underdoing,” (过犹不及) Confucius emphasized. The best is to be “just right”. The direct translation is “master the inches” (把握分寸). Wouldn’t that be generally true for all forms of art? Analects, the book with 20,000 words, examines almost all kinds of relationships in great detail, such as: between friends, father and son, brothers, husbands and wives, emperors and officials, which laid the moral rectitude and filial-piety foundation for feudal systems to be devised and thousands of years of harmonious society to be formed. But it has no single mention of Law. In essence, the order of “relationship, logic, law” for doing things in China has deep roots in the culture. On the other hand, “overdoing it” could be disastrous. Many high-ranking government officials and foreign Corporations in China think that they are untouchable by playing well with “relationship”. They forget that to “master the inches” would be the key. In the meantime, “law” in China has moved much higher in the rank these days.

After all, there is a common sense, which is not much different in America in many ways. Handling relationships well is one of the most important attributes for anyone anywhere to have a chance to succeed in career and in life. Some customary differences in the two cultures are worth paying attention to. Most obviously, in America, we often refer to one another on a first-name basis including our supervisors in formal or informal encounters. It instantly creates a personable and relaxed environment so distinct to American culture, which often breeds unique and widely recognizable American humor. On the contrary, for the Chinese, a title always needs to follow a surname, especially at work. Using only the first name for the boss would be tantamount to a career-suicide.

In corporate America, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil” may sound cliché, but it is often true. If some Chinese feel the bamboo ceiling is limiting their growth potentials, part of it could be us. To me, technical skills are often overrated vs. people skills. A psychological study reveals that 25% of success is from technical skills, the other 75% is from social connections and how we process the world. Imagine if others like what you have to offer, and more importantly, they enjoy working with you, your potential would be far beyond what you can imagine.

A melting pot

This “melting pot” has embraced everyone who is willing to participate. Those of us who aren’t often choose to stay inside the communities, but ready to step outside for a street rally at moment when they feel violated (such as by a hurtful joke in the media, a bill that could hurt our children’s future, or a local budget cut affecting our children’s learning opportunities). The Chinese grew up in a tradition, according to Confucius, “losing face is the worst thing that could happen to a man, worse than death.” (仕可杀 不可辱). In America, this trait of prioritizing our “face” over our heart might not represent the best side of a people, and is unlikely to gain understanding from the general public. It would be better if we could let go of the obsessions of our old identity somewhat, and start embracing our new identity, the one that we all have chosen as part of this “melting pot”.

Questions raised to ourselves reverberate: should we be more blended in, more locally involved, more adapted to this fascinating culture, and more generously giving back? In short, should we assimilate and fit into this much bigger picture surrounding us? Would all of that, added to our own financial independence and the success of most of our children, lead to a much richer and more fulfilling life?
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” said Gandhi. It could point us a way to find our new identities in this cultivating “melting pot”, where everyone can be blessed with the essences of the two most influential and complementary cultures in the world.

(The author Cheng Wang (王成) currently lives in Cary NC. He is fully responsible for all the opinions in this article. Any feedbacks and suggestions can be sent to: [email protected])

wang2
A discussion session during a local community-in-school event, a national high school students mentoring program (2014)

wang3
A job tutoring session during a local Community-in-school mentoring event (2014)

wang4
Cary Tennis League team playing at the USTA NC State Championship, Asheville NC (4 years in a row 2011-1014)

wang5
wang6
Some previous local involvements

中文AP栾老师给大家的话

ap_workshop_30 2014-09-05

撰稿人:栾丽虹

盛盟中文学校AP中文班从2012年开始已经开办两年了,虽然只有短短的两年时间,但我却觉得这是我二十多年教学生涯中付出和收获最大的两年。盛萌在学生生源上并没有通过考核才可以进入,有大概85%的的同学,虽然是经过多年的中文学校的学习,但是中文基础并不是很好。但通过我们师生共同努力,外加家长、学校的支持,两年共有13个学生参加了College Board主办的AP中文考试,其中有12个同学取得了5分的好成绩,为申请大学和未来的就业做了更好的准备。

AP中文是盛盟中文学校程度最高、难度最大的课程,学生除了学习课本内容以外,还要接触大量中国语言文化资料。AP中文测试考生的听说读写能力,内容包括中国文化的各个方面,例如中国历史、地理、哲学、文学、影视、科学技术、体育、饮食、工艺美术等等。要在30堂课内讲完这些内容,准备和批改大量的作业,这对老师来说是个很大的挑战。作为老师,最重要的是要有责任心和敬业精神,真心实意地对待学生和教学。

每当提起AP中文考试,学生们就会说:“太难了!” “我的中文水平不够等等。” 那么“AP考试到底有多难?难在哪里?”归根结底,AP中文考试不仅测试学生的词汇量和语法知识,而且测试学生中文听说读写的综合能力以及对中国语言文化的理解。这对于生长在海外的孩子来说绝对不是一件容易的事。虽然他们从小就来中文学校学习,可是由于在日常的生活中懒得使用中文,学到的中文没能很好地运用到实际生活中,因此课本上的知识并没有转化为实际的语言能力。再加上中西文化的差异,很多同学并不能很好地理解中国文化。作为一个执教多年的中文老师,我承认AP中文有一定的难度,但同时我也觉得它不是一个令人望而生畏、高不可攀的考试。只要学生认真学中文,按时完成老师留的功课,并具备了基本的中文听说读写能力,用一年的时间跟着AP老师多听、多读、多写和多说,每一个学生都可以轻松地通过AP中文考试。

衷心地祝贺学生们取得的好成绩,也感谢家长们和校领导的信任和支持。作为老师,我很高兴地看到盛盟中文学校的AP中文班广受欢迎与好评,我最大的愿望就是全心全意地帮助我的学生取得成功。

决战在高院 (5) 姊妹双案

supreme_court

By Henry Yang
Date: 9/3/2014

2003年。新世纪的曙光已经照亮全球。美国摧枯拉朽般推翻了阿富汗和伊拉克两个专制政权,正紧锣密鼓筹划当地的民主选举,要将人人平等的理念洒向世界最落后的角落。

而在美国国内,在高校录取政策上,“人人平等”依然是一个遥远的梦想。古老的种族歧视的艺术,正借着“多元化”的幌子焕发着新生的光彩。在总共1600分的SAT考试中,亚裔学生平均必须比白人高出140分,比西裔高出280分,比非裔高出450分,才能得到全美最优秀大学的录取。面对如此肆无忌惮的种族歧视,亚裔凭借从小被灌输的“平权”理念(Affirmative Action),和忍辱负重的族裔性格,默默忍受,甘做哑裔。

然而,在密歇根,两位同样在高校录取中遭受种族歧视的金发美女却奋起反抗,勇敢地将两起官司同时打到了最高法院。这就是Gratz v. Bollinger 和 Grutter v. Bollinger两大里程碑案件。被告Lee Bollinger是当时密歇根大学的校长。

gratz_grutter
Jennifer Gratz (L) and Barbara Grutter (R), plaintiffs in affirmative action suits against the Univ. of Michigan. (CNN)

University of Michigan本科录取的种族歧视政策简单粗暴:新生录取各项素质综合评分共150分,如果申请人达到100分就会确保录取。非裔,西裔和印第安学生一申请就自动加20分,亚裔和白人在起跑线上就被远远甩下。相比之下,ACT或SAT即使满分也只加12分;杰出艺术才能最多加5分。也就是说,“正确”的族裔和肤色抵得上接近两个SAT满分,四个贝多芬或毕加索。Jennifer Gratz 等人因此申请被拒。于是有了Gratz v. Bollinger一案。

与此同时,同一所University of Michigan法学院录取中的种族歧视就要聪明和隐蔽得多。种族“只是”作为一项优惠条件,和申请者的其他各种条件混在一起综合考虑,黑箱操作,种族歧视得看不见,摸不着,来无影,去无踪,既不留过分歧视之痕迹,又达到种族配额之实效。就在这炉火纯青的种族歧视艺术下,Barbara Grutter申请法学院被拒,这就有了Grutter v. Bollinger一案。

当两起案件的辩论同时在联邦最高法院展开时,Regents of UC v. Bakke已经过去了25年。25年前九位大法官那六篇盘根错节的意见书,只在两点意见上勉强取得了5:4多数:1. UC Davis医学院种族配额招生政策无效;  2. 如果符合各州重大利益,大学录取时可考虑种族因素。至于怎样种族歧视才算合法,25年来一直悬而未决。

为打赢官司,密歇根大学方面召集形形色色的各种组织,递交了史上最大规模的“法庭之友简报”(amicus curiae briefs),列举依靠种族歧视实现“多元化”的种种好处:可以打破种族偏见,促进族裔理解,确保国家安全,培养多元领导,活跃课堂讨论,消除隔离感觉… 听上去宛如传说中那无限神奇包治百病的“snake oil”,美中不足的是那些因种族歧视而被拒的亚裔和白人学生,将无缘享受这“多元化”带来的无尽福祉。

2003年6月,最高法院终于就大学招生的种族歧视政策作出裁决。对Gratz v. Bollinger一案,九位大法官以6:3判定密歇根大学本科录取中的种族偏向因不够“narrowly tailored”而违宪。但是对Grutter v. Bollinger,最高法院却以5:4判定密歇根大学法学院的种族偏向政策符合宪法,同时确认了以下原则:

1. 如果符合重大政府利益,政府可以实施严密设计和严格审查的种族偏向政策,但是种族配额违宪:

“…all racial classifications imposed by government must be analyzed by a reviewing court under strict scrutiny.”“such classifications are constitutional only if they are narrowly tailored to further compelling governmental interests.”“ To be narrowly tailored, a race-conscious admissions program cannot use a quota system”

2. 学生群体的多元化属于重大政府利益,因此大学录取过程中允许考虑种族因素。

“student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions.”“ Universities can…consider race or ethnicity more flexibly as a “plus” factor in the context of individualized consideration of each and every applicant.”

认定法学院种族歧视政策合法的五位大法官是:O'Connor, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer;反对这一判决的四位大法官是:Rehnquist, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas. 黑人大法官 Thomas在反对意见中更是一针见血地指出:

“The Constitution abhors classifications based on race … every time the government places citizens on racial registers and makes race relevant to the provision of burdens or benefits, it demeans us all. ‘Purchased at the price of immeasurable human suffering, the equal protection principle reflects our Nation’s understanding that such classifications ultimately have a destructive impact on the individual and our society.’”

Grutter v. Bollinger并没有解决高校录取的种族歧视尺度问题。校方在这一案件中提出,少数族裔学生只有达到“critical mass”,多元化的好处才能得以体现。首席大法官Rehnquist对此困惑不解:同一所大学里,西裔,非裔和印第安裔学生人数相差巨大,为什么他们的“critical mass”数值如此不同?难怪后人将此戏称为“critical mess”。Grutter v. Bollinger制造的这飘忽不定,难以把握,像雾像雨又像风的“critical mess”,终于不可避免地在近十年后的2012年再次触发最新一场高院官司:Fisher v. University of Texas。

而这姊妹官司的原告之一Jennifer Gratz,继续高举反种族歧视的大旗,和加州Proposition 209的总设计师Ward Connerly一起,成功推动密歇根州在2006年通过禁止种族歧视的宪法修正案Proposal 2,最终在这姊妹官司的始发地密歇根大学恢复人人平等。而Proposal 2,也坚守住本系列开篇文章所描述的那场惊心动魄的高院决战Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action,至今屹立在密歇根大地,和我们抗击SCA5时奋力捍卫的加州Proposition 209一起,像两面高高飘扬的旗帜,激励着全美反种族歧视的各族裔人民继续抗争。

APAPA Tri-Valley 第一届高中生选民登记义工培训记实

撰稿人:APAPA  TVC

2014-08-31 15.07.53

八月三十一日, 随着暑假结束、秋季来临和加州大选倒计时开始,刚刚成立月余的APAPA Tri-Valley Chapter 紧锣密鼓地开始组织了2014 加州终选的第一次高中生义工的培训。

2014-08-31 15.17.50-1

这次的培训是在热心的三谷华人地产经纪人才Amy Liu积极协作下,安排在Cindy Liu位于Pleasanton 的办公会议室举办,到场的有三谷几个城市的高中学生16 人和他们热心的家长,其中3位是由Global Leadership Club 倾力协助招募来的高中生。培训由三谷选民注册资深义工Shirley Xu主讲,她首先强调参加选民注册义工是一项十分有意义的社区贡献活动,义工要以中立的态度参与动员公民注册登记选举,这是强化民主、为社会贡献的积极的举动。她接着详尽地解释了注册表格的每一项应注意的地方,最后分享了自己做选民注册义工的独到经验体会,孩子们一问一答和老师互动一堂课下来收获很大!最后大家还分享了Ivy Baking 群义工妈妈给带来的低糖月饼。

2014-08-31 15.40.34

这次培训很成功!我们希望这个高中生选民注册义工活动能动员更多亚裔子女参与社区活动,并从中煅炼自己学到社会活动经验。大家会在接下来的几个月在学校、超市等活动聚会场所见到他们年轻的身影,请爱护他们,鼓励他们,为他们加油。相信将来的亚裔政治家会在他们中间诞生。

2014-08-31 15.07.29

附注简介:APAPA 是一个非政治非营利性501(C)3 注册组织,致力于促进亚裔民众参与社区,政府部门建设,培养亚裔领导。APAPA成立于2001年,已经有十几年历史,总部位于Sacramento, 现在在California,New York,Texas 和 Florida 州都有分部。下面的链接是APAPA十周年庆时拍摄的视频: http://youtu.be/BHndvU9-9jI有兴趣的朋友可以看看,以增进对APAPA的了解。