In Schools Today, It Is Time To Look Outward

BASIS Independent McLean is hosting a special event, “Demystifying Global Education Rankings,” on Monday, October 24, 2016. The blog post delivers a sense of what the guest speakers will discuss – which is promising, and pertinent, for the entire BASIS.ed community.

One of the great weaknesses of American education is its parochialism. Education in the United States is viewed as a domestic affair, not even a national affair, but a matter for the district, the city or the state. Yet at no point in the history of American education has it been as important that we look outward to see what other nations are doing to prepare their young for thriving careers.

We all agree, technology and globalization are in the process of altering the future lives and careers of our students beyond recognition. This statement of the obvious unleashes a series of questions that are easy to ask, but for both schools and parents, oddly difficult to answer, particularly within an educational culture that is so inwardly focused:

How should schools respond and evolve? What choices about their child’s education are available to parents? What are the benchmarks that might guide these choices? What precisely is “Global Education”, or “Global Skills“, or “21stCentury Learning”? Is the new “Knowledge Worker” we hear so much about sitting upstairs pretending to do homework as you read this? Or have they already missed the boat?

The question all parents confront, “what is the best school for my own child?,” the strategic questions schools face about what students must learn and how they should learn, the questions employers face about what competencies, skills and intellectual and creative subtlety they need in their future employees and leaders… all these questions can be answered with greater analytical clarity if one looks outward. What are the best practices common to the most impressive current education systems? What are those systems doing that show remarkable improvement in student accomplishment?

The conversation on demystifying global education has been designed to give our parents and faculty just this opportunity to look outward and ask the important questions.

We welcome two distinguished guests to shed light on these important questions. Tue Halgreen joins us from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test that measures critical thinking in math, reading, and science in 15-year-olds around the world. Peng Yu is a distinguished history and science educator from the most intellectually prestigious school in Shanghai. Both speakers are well-placed to answer your questions about the most productive developments in global education.

How does private education in the United States compare to the best schools elsewhere in the world? What do the leaders of one of the top schools in China feel they must do to improve student learning? What are the deficiencies they see in their own extraordinary program? Is American education improving relative to developments in other industrialized nations? How does the OECD itself define 21st Century skills? What do major global employers tell the OECD they seek in their future managers and leaders?

Dr. Q. Mark Reford is an international educator with 25 years of experience in the United States, United Kingdom, and Russia. He has educated students from the early childhood years through university graduate levels, and is currently the Chief Business Development and Brand Officer of BASIS Educational Ventures.

Dr. Q Mark Reford

Submit a comment