State economies are no longer competing with the state next door. They are competing with countries around the world for trade, foreign direct investment, and job creation.
States are also major investors in human capital. States have the responsibility for assuring that children are educated and ready for work anda citizenship. Today, more than ever, that education must include global knowledge and skills.
A practical way to connect workforce demand with educational supply is to gather a group of key stakeholders and to make a unique plan for how your state can align the two sides. Consider leaders in public policy, international business (international corporations to small businesses who import and export), education leaders, and community stakeholders.
Here are ten questions for leaders to consider:
- What are your state’s current and future relationships with other parts of the world? Do they increase trade, foreign direct investment, job creation, tourism, university partnerships, and international students?
- Has your state board of education or legislature developed a formal policy to promote international knowledge and skills?
- Do your state standards and assessments incorporate international knowledge across all major subject areas? Do your high school graduate requirements reflect the new realities of a global environment?
- Has your state developed a state languages roadmap to expand world languages opportunities from K-16, including less commonly taught languages?
- Are the teacher preparation and certification programs in your state producing teachers with global knowledge and skills?
- How can your state tap the resources of higher education and the business community through K-16 and business partnerships to promote students’ and teachers’ international knowledge and skills?
- How can your state incorporate global competence into existing school reform and afterschool programs?
- How can your state’s technology and distance learning infrastructure be used to strengthen international education?
- How can your state expand student and teacher participation in international exchanges, especially with regions where the state has economic or cultural ties?
- Does your state benchmark its standards and practices against those of other high-performing countries?
It's important to get grassroots perspectives. Here are ten questions school communities (educators, school leaders, parents, students, and community members) can help investigate and report:
- What are your state’s current (and future) connections to other parts of the world, including economic development/jobs, cultural exchanges, and population diversity?
- What knowledge, skills, and values will your community’s graduates need to function effectively in the interconnected world of the 21st century?
- How might the K–12 curriculum be strengthened to promote international knowledge and skills?
- What is the status of world language study, including less commonly taught languages?
- How can technology resources be used to extend the international knowledge and experiences of teachers and students?
- What kinds of international exchange programs for students and educators are now available or should be?
- What international expertise do your teachers or administrators have and what professional development opportunities exist or can be developed to help them to gain more?
- Which local ethnic communities or language groups can be tapped to strengthen learning about the world? And which partnerships can be created with colleges, businesses, and cultural or international affairs organizations to help enhance students’ and teachers’ international knowledge?
- What student leadership opportunities or community service activities exist or could be developed to promote students’ democratic values, citizenship, and global understanding?
- How can your school and community libraries, afterschool programs, and other informal learning resources be used to promote learning about the world?
There are many articles and tools on this website to help communities get started.