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Globalization and the Impact on Education, Part 2

How might the US respond to the tides of change resulting from globalization? What role does education play in this response?


The bell-shaped curve of the American middle class is changing to have more of a dumbell shape. Globalization has had its biggest effect on middle-class jobs, especially those which can be defined as a process and don't require imagination or creativity. Programmers, technical support representatives, and even tax preparers are easily outsourced, thanks to a widening global free market and the advent of the Internet, fiber-optics and satellite communications. You might think the outcome for the American middle class looks bleak; however, it may not be so bad if Americans find new and better ways to tie k12 and higher education to the careers that await learners. In The World is Flat, Friedman tells us that a new middle class is beginning to emerge--one that capitalizes on American ingenuity and entrepreneurship. Friedman claims that it's critically important for schools to start teaching new skills and strengthening inherent traits to bring out creativity and adaptability.


It's probably not the best idea to wait for the US Government to respond to the call for educational reform that emphasizes creativity and life-long learning and authentically ties learning with life. NCLB and the Spellings Commission show that the government remains focused on objective, measurable, testable standards that will continue to crank out workers who can produce and compute, but not necessarily collaborate or create. It is our responsibility as teachers and parents to supplement the school standards by helping students make the connections to life that are missing from our memorize and test system. Teachers can teach to the standards and incorporate progressive principles like those in Wiggins' Understanding By Design. Schools such as Napa's New Technology High School are employing project-based learning to authenticate the learning experience. They've also created a foundation to share the model with other districts who are interested in project-based learning. Our response to globalization will come from the ground up. When we reach the tipping point, school districts across the country will begin to shift focus from left-brain development to whole-mind development. Hopefully, this will happen before China, India, and other developing countries take the creative lead.

Published Jun 14 2007, 02:02 PM by ghinshaw
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