Around the World in 30 Days: October 2016

Oct 29, 2016 by

C. M. Rubin’s Global Education Report
What can we learn from the best teaching and learning practices of mathematics around the world? Who was the first woman to run for President of the United States and why is her story still relevant today? While more and more young people achieve higher education degrees, youth unemployment continues to rise – so what are we going to do about it? There is a new House of Books in Kabul created by an inspiring young Afghan woman. What would change if Diane Ravitch or Charles Fadel were Secretary of Education for the new US administration? And how do we better engender a healthy, happy, and productive school environment where both teachers and students can flourish? Those were the questions that most intrigued us this month.

It’s been long understood that literacy is the foundation from which cultural revolutions are born, and the opening of Sajia Darwish’s library is the first step in a multidimensional approach to support a reading culture in her Kabul community. Currently, between 200 and 350 students visit the new library on a daily basis to read, do school work, or to take out or return a book. In her inspiring interview with The Global Search for Education this month, Sajia defies traditional gender roles and offers a tangible sense of hope for change in even the most tragic circumstances.

In an aria from the new opera, Mrs. President, Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States, sings, “I’m told I’m a citizen by right of birth. We pay taxes. We obey the same laws. We supply you with citizens. We give them up for war. Yet we’re poor, powerless, the property of men.” “I am struck by the similar epithets that are hurled at Hillary Clinton to those that Woodhull was branded with,” says the opera’s world renowned composer and conductor, Victoria Bond. “She was reviled and called “Mrs. Satan.” “They wanted to have her jailed and accused her of being dishonest and a threat to decent society,” adds Bond, who believes her opera is the story about “the power of one person to bring about awareness and eventual change.”

Youth unemployment continues to grow. An increasing number of people around the world have higher education degrees. Despite this, more than half of the workers are employed in jobs for which their levels of education and skills are inappropriate. There is a skills mismatch in the world labor market. The Millennial Bloggers are based all over the world. They are innovators in entrepreneurship, journalism, education, entertainment, and academic scholarship. This month, we asked them to share their perspectives on jobs, employment and the role of education. “As globalization brings us closer together, schools need to better prepare students to live in a world that demands failure in exchange for the keys to success,” says Jacob Deleon Navarrete. Given the huge loans many Millennials are faced with repaying plus the grim employment prospects, “is now the time to revisit what we define as success?” writes Harmony Siganporia. Up and coming entrepreneur Isadora Baum advocates for embracing failure, and building solid relationships and life-long learning, while Broadway producer James Kernochan recommends that patrons behind the arts “place emphasis on and resources behind programs that give artists structure and a meaningful social milieu when they are done with school.”

Let’s talk about mathematics. The Man from PISA, Andreas Schleicher, is on a mission to share best teaching and learning practices from around the world. In 2012, PISA studied students’ performance in mathematics, and additionally, collected data from students and school principals in 70 countries about how teachers teach mathematics. The goal was to explore what teaching and learning strategies related to higher student achievement by way of answering 10 key questions. My interview with Andreas reveals all the important answers.

Our popular 2016 Education Debate series, with the big picture questions in US Education posed to thought leaders at the forefront of educational change, ended up being published by media outlets all over the world. Andy Hargreaves, Howard Gardner, Randi Weingarten, Julia Freeland Fisher, Diane Ravitch and Charles Fadel were asked to imagine what would change if they were Secretary of Education for the new administration. This month, we published the last two interviews with Ravitch and Fadel. Ravitch takes aim at standardized testing and the failure of policy makers to recognize the effect that poverty has on a child’s opportunity for success. “Poverty is highly correlated with poor educational outcomes – with test scores, absenteeism, dropout rates, and every other measure of attainment and achievement.” Further, she decries the blaming of teachers, the closing of public schools, and the founding of charters as answers to our current problems. Fadel is focused on updating “What” students need to learn for today’s world. He argues that “contemporary education is failing our students because we are stuck in a curriculum designed for a different century, i.e. a curriculum that focuses heavily on quantity of testable knowledge. Yet if designed well, curriculum can help lead to more peaceful, sustainable societies, with more economic progress and fairness, composed of people who are fulfilled and happier.”

What makes a school happy and healthy? Our Global Teacher Bloggers are pioneers and innovators in fields such as technology integration, mathematics coaching, special needs education, science instruction, and gender equity. These teachers empower and enrich the lives of young people from nearly every background imaginable. They shared their answers to our question: How do we better engender a healthy, happy, and productive school environment where both teachers and students can flourish? “Feeling you belong, you’re appreciated, you’re supported and you’re important sounds like a good place to start,” writes Richard Wells in New Zealand. Maarit Rossi in Finland believes the important ingredients include “healthy school lunches, enough breaks for students during the day and good working conditions.” Miriam Mason-Sesay in Sierra Leone believes that all constituents of the school community should “have the right, but also the responsibility, to make their voices heard”; and Vicki Davis writes about the key principles that she believes can improve the well-being of any school community, including choosing to improve, playing to people’s strengths and being willing to serve and love those we have to work with.

Our thanks once again to all our amazing teachers, millennials, contributors and supporters around the world.

(Photos are courtesy of CMRubinWorld)

C. M. Rubin
Join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. MadhavChavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. EijaKauppinen (Finland), State Secretary TapioKosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Geoff Masters (Australia), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (LyceeFrancais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.

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