Sunday, May 19, 2013

21st Century Schools

"Why our kids need them, what they look like, how we create them."

A friend of a friend has just today posted an entry on a local Venice-Mar Vista blog, and asked, "Who wants to be the first to post?" I'm not that shy, and so am taking up the gauntlet.

A fine book is Marc Tucker's Surpassing Shanghai, published by Harvard Education Press. Chapter 4's "Singapore: A Journey to the Top, Step by Step", written by Vivien Stewart, asks, "What can be learned from Singapore", and answers, finally,

"Eagerness to learn from other countries and an orientation toward the future matter.  The design of Singapore's education system owes a lot to lessons from other parts of the world. Focused and universal use of educational benchmarking and, more recently, significant funds for research have enabled Singapore to move up the value chain and foster a culture of never standing still. This is a system that recognizes the rapidity of change around the world and that has the capacity and inclination to learn and adapt. Singapore fosters a global outlook for everyone -- teachers, principals, and students, who are expected to have 'global awareness and cross-cultural skills' and to be 'future-ready'" (135).

Leading educational organizations such as the International Baccalaureate and APEC (the ill-named "Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation") have oriented themselves towards our global future, and the ideal 21st century school would serve as the flagship to found a system of schools similarly oriented. I have been working on such a school for years now, and while it has developed through various versions, its essential vision and purpose have remained the same: 

“By synthesizing best practices from around the world and throughout time, and without depending upon selective admissions or extraordinary resources, One World Secondary School’s purpose is to demonstrate a world-class model of education so that diverse students succeed in colleges of their own choosing.”

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