What is the standard of excellence for schools today? What truly matters? For whom? While the U.S. continues to struggle to gain ground with our standard assessment scores, other countries (such as China and South Korea) are reversing long standing “uniform educational” practices and replacing them with more flexible, individualized approaches. They are seeking to recreate their educational systems to develop more innovators. While educators in the U.S. are reinventing education and “racing to the top,” it may be wise to look more closely at the summit. Which mountain is it that we are climbing and what is the view from the top? What are the goals for our society, for our future?
Consider in the global view of things, that “national is local.” With instaneous communication, global in fact may often be viewed as local. However, turning to the U.S., many are asking how we allowed the situation in the Gulf to happen. What were the factors that led to such a total disregard for environmental precautions. Greed? Arrogance? Many asked the similar questions with the fall of Wall Street, the housing markets, and, dare it be said, if not the demise, the “down rating” of capitalism. Thoughtful educators may well ask how we as leaders in the U.S. have failed. As educators, it seems right to also ask what we would want for tomorrow’s leaders — at local, national, and international levels. How could their leadershp be more effective than ours? What skills and experiences while in school are needed? And who should we look to and work with to create the leadership for tomorrow? Is it global or local? What are the implications for the “race to the top” and for reinventing education?