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U.S. Dept. of Ed. Announces First International Strategy

U.S. education is increasingly going global: The U.S. Department of Education recently announced its first-ever, fully articulated international strategy, designed to strengthen schools and advance the nation’s international priorities.

“Our interconnected world stage requires us to look outward as we work to develop globally competent students who can compete for good jobs, [and] work to address global challenges like climate change and health epidemics, as well as support our national security and diplomacy,” wrote Maureen McLaughlin, director of the department’s international affairs offce, on the DOE’s offcial blog. In a hyper-connected world, it is no longer enough to focus only on ensuring that students have basic reading, writing, math, and science skills, the report, “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement,” states. Today’s students must also possess the ability to think critically and creatively to solve complex, global problems, have strong communication skills, and possess advanced math, science, and technical skills, to compete for jobs on a global scale and work with an increasingly diverse international community. The Department lays out three interrelated objectives:

Increase global competencies

These include knowledge and understanding of other countries, cultures, languages, and perspectives, and using such knowledge to take action on glob- al problems. The department advocates districts to implement internationally benchmarked, college- and career-standards (or the Common Core), students develop knowledge and understanding about the world, and teach foreign language skills.

Learn from other countries

The department supports comparing students’ performance against foreign counterparts, as the nation does PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study), PISA (Program International Student Assessment), TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). This year, U.S. will participate in TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey) the first time, surveying the teachers lower secondary education and the principals of the schools in which they These tests help identify strengths weaknesses, and successful practices other nations.

Engage in education diplomacy

The department will continue to and foster relationships with government offcials, policymakers, researchers, educators, and students worldwide, to expand higher education partnerships, increase international exchange with powerful nations like China, and promote equity education, the report states. “The strategy is firmly based on the belief that a world-class education for both domestically and internationally—a win-win,” McLaughlin wrote.