Singing Migrant Children Need English

I recently got this e-mail:

> As you probably know, I’ve spent much of my year teaching a choir made up of migrant children. As you probably know, migrant children are among the poorest in the city. They aren’t allowed into public schools so their families have to pay double the tuition of a public school to send their kids to poor quality schools created specifically for migrant children. The Shanghai Migrant Children’s Choir has performed in four concerts, including a concert with 5 time grammy award winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman, and the choir has been featured in over 12 TV and newspaper publications in China. Now, a friend of mine and I are starting a music school so that these children have a permanent place to learn music. We would also like to give the children a place study after school and attend free tutoring lessons.

> Because the migrant school that these children used to attend was in such poor shape, we’ve coerced the local government to allow our choir kids into public school. They say that they will let the kids into public school ONLY if the students’ English skills are up to par. So, right now, our most immediate need is an English tutor. We need a college-age native English speaker to come to our school once or twice a week for the month of August to tutor 26 migrant children. The tutor will have a native Chinese speaker assistant from Fudan who can assist the tutor. The school is located 5 minutes away from Fudan University in Jiangwan district. All transportation costs will be covered.

If you are interested, please e-mail me and I will give you the necessary contact info.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Why are these families migrants? Do they ‘follow the harvest’ the way that the migrants in the US do? We have migrants who spend the cold months here in FL & the summer months in MI.

  2. I know this isn’t really the point of the post, but… I used to have some Steven Curtis Chapman CDs back in the day. He’s a pretty cool guy. I’ve heard that he and his wife have adopted several unwanted baby girls from China.

    Anyway, that’s really sad that the migrant kids can’t go to public school without knowing English. Can you imagine what would happen if the American government said that? We’d have riots in the street (well, protests anyway).

  3. The municipal council won’t allow these kids into the public school because they don’t want to give a wrong signal to immigrants. Although Shanghai is the richest city in the country only next to Shenzhen, it is, at the meantime, the most densely populated urban area in the world, with somewhat 20 million under its administration.

    If the city goverment lowers the threshold for the immigrant kids, many more immigrants will throng to this town just for the sake of better funded education facilities and generous college enrollment quote. The wealth of the city will immediately disappear among the 1.3 billion of people. The local people who made the money and pay the tax just won’t let that happen.

  4. The most densely populated urban area in the world is the Gaza Strip.

  5. No I take that back, it’s Macau.

  6. Carl,

    I’m disappointed I didn’t get any comments from you on the previous entry… hehe

  7. Macao is a perfect gated community, no free entry for migrant workers.

Leave a Reply