NPR broadcast a story this morning about schools in Great Britain requiring three years of Mandarin Chinese, with additional years optional. The showcased program is in the East End. It was great to hear kids with heavy East Ender accents talk about how excited they were to learn and gain a skill for their future. Besides being prepared for the future business world and global society, there are some unexpected benefits of learning/teaching Mandarin. Because it is a character based language instead of a alphabet based language, students with learning disabilities now have a choice in which they have a better chance of succeeding. No more b, d, p, q flipping to deal with – there’s a happy thought. The report states the U.S. government has just allocated $1.3 million to implementing Chinese language education in the U.S. school system. I will be optomistic and say that the tiny allocation and the "Learn Chinese" on the back of my neighborhood’s Chinese restaurant’s fortune cookies (and hopefully others) is a start in the right direction.