Klea Scharberg

Preparing Students for a Global Future

At a time when globalization and technology are dramatically altering the world we live in, is education reform in the United States headed down the right path? Are schools emphasizing the knowledge and skills that students need in a global society—or are schools actually undermining students' strengths by overemphasizing high-stakes testing and standardization? Are education systems in China and other countries really as superior as some people claim?

Explore these questions in this talk with Yong Zhao, author of Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization. Born and raised in China and now a distinguished professor at Michigan State University, Zhao bases many of his observations on firsthand experience as a student in China and as a parent of children attending school in the United States. His unique perspective leads him to conclude that "American education is at a crossroads" and "we need to change course" to maintain leadership in a rapidly changing world.

As you listen and browse the book, consider the following questions alone or with colleagues at your school.

  1. What are the traditional strengths in terms of education, culture, and economy in your community?
  2. What is unique about your community, or what do you have that others do not have in your community? What can you do better than others?
  3. How do you preserve creativity and protect individual passions in students?
  4. Can we have both standards and individual creativity?

Find more from Zhao and others in this issue of ASCD Express on approaches to education that will help students lead and succeed in the global age.

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