A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation

A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation

A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation

A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation


In the 20th century, the United States was the world leader in education--the first country to achieve universal secondary education and the first to expand higher education beyond the elite class. Now other countries are catching up and leaping ahead--in high school graduation rates, in the quality and equity of their K-12 education systems, and in the proportion of students graduating from college. It is not that American education has gotten worse so much that education in other parts of the world has gotten so much better, so fast.

Designed to promote conversation about how to educate students for a rapidly changing and increasingly borderless and innovation-based world, this comprehensive and illuminating book from international education expert Vivien Stewart is not about casting blame; it is about understanding what the best school systems in the world are doing right for the purpose of identifying what U.S. schools--at the national, state, and local level--might do differently and better. Here, you'll consider

• How the U.S. education system fares against emerging international standards of excellence.

• The policies, practices, and priorities of the world's best-performing systems, along with specific ideas for adapting these approaches for U.S. schools.

• The common factors characteristic of high-performing and rapidly improving systems.

• New models of 21st century teaching and leadership and ways to modernize curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

• How technology and international exchange can help the United States close performance gaps and reach new levels of excellence and equity.

Learning goes both ways, Stewart writes. Other countries have learned a great deal from the United States, and now it is time for American educators to open their eyes to other nations' globally-minded and future-focused practices, leverage existing assets, and create a truly world-class education system for this generation of students and generations to come.


Everything has changed, except the way we think. —Albert Einstein

The world is changing, and fast. The accelerating pace of globalization over the past 20 years—driven by profound technological changes, the rise of Asia (especially China and India), and the ever more rapid pace of scientific discovery—has produced a whole new way of life. Companies manufacture goods around the clock and around the world, ideas and events travel the Internet in seconds, a financial crisis in the United States affects the ability of farmers in Africa to borrow money for seed, and pollution in China affects the air in Los Angeles. The world in which today’s students live is fundamentally different from the world in which we were raised. As never before, education in the United States must prepare students for a world where the opportunities for success require the ability to compete and cooperate on a global scale.

Technological, economic, and political trends have increased the demand for higher skills and reduced the demand for lower skills while intensifying the competition for quality jobs. Since 1990, more than 3 billion people in China, India, and the former Soviet Union have entered the global economy (Zakaria, 2008), and while these countries at first concentrated on creating low-skill jobs, they are increasingly aiming to . . .

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