On a trade mission to China this week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa voiced his support of the 100,000 Strong Initiative. At a press conference held in Beijing, he spoke of his city’s commitment to the program.
Villaraigosa highlighted the efforts of L.A. high schools to increase their study abroad opportunities, especially for students from underrepresented groups and backgrounds. For example, at the Mendez Learning Center, a public high school in Boyle Heights, 260 students are now studying Chinese. Next summer, 10 to 15 students will be chosen to participate in a study abroad trip to China.
“These kids all speak English, about 95% of them speak Spanish, and they are all learning Mandarin as we speak,” Villaraigosa said. “Virtually every one of them has never been out of the country. Many of them have never been on an airplane.”
Such opportunities have typically been afforded by students of elite institutions. However, Villaraigosa challenged the notion that sending a financially or socially marginalized child from L.A. to China to learn Mandarin would be an unattainable goal. That’s why he’s throwing his support behind the100,000 Strong Initiative, which aims to ensure that underrepresented groups have access to such opportunities, including students from community colleges and minority-serving institutions.
Photo courtesy of dailylife.com