The Global Challenge to Educate

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How the World Learns: Comparative Educational Systems Series
America's blueprint for mass education has been followed across the globe--yet international student assessments show that achievement varies sharply, with the U.S. and much of Europe typically scoring average, at best. Not surprisingly, this state of affairs has sparked anxieties about an educational crisis. Adding even more fuel to the…
Learning Curves: Education
Part of the Series: The Way We Live Series
What kind of education a child can expect to receive may have less to do with the teacher and more to do socioeconomic status, race and culture. These and other factors make the question of how best to educate American children a complicated one. In this episode you will meet…
What Should We Compare about Education?
Do the achievement rankings paint an accurate picture of what's happening in schools, or is the crisis politically manufactured? Get answers as you analyze common criticisms of national education systems through the lens of three recurring phenomena--achievement envy, the accountability expectation, and access entitlement--and look at approaches to shifting school…
How to Fix Education: Heart, Head, Hands
Assuming something is "wrong" with schools, how might they be fixed? Analyze how the larger forces of imposition, invitation, and innovation can lead to change through examples from Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and Myanmar, where Buddhist monks have established non-religious schools at their monasteries to remedy the poor quality of…
How Parents Shape Student Outcomes
Explore how parental involvement aligns with socioeconomic status and influences student achievement and education worldwide. See the role "cram schools" in Korea and other private tutoring play in education and the importance of early childhood education on child literacy. Finally, learn how the Japanese system fosters ties between schools and…
Gulf Schools: The Non-National Advantage
Look at the "insider" versus the "outsider" in national education systems such as Saudi Arabia to see how education bridges political citizenship, academic performance, and economic productivity. Examine how education is a means for producing citizens who reflect the desired image of a nation's population and its government.
The Rich-and-Poor Learning Cycle
How should we measure academic success? By standardized tests and school grades? By transition and mobility within an education system? See how true success in education is a delicate balance between school factors and non-school factors, which can look quite different depending on the context.
The World Learns from Horace Mann
Trace how the ideologies of mass education emerged in the U.S. and became central tenets of education around the world. Survey the ideas of key educational thinkers such as Horace Mann and James Bryant Conant, then consider why, despite its strengths, the U.S. might be ranked low relative to international…
Sputnik Launches the Science-Math Race
Dating back to Sputnik in the 1950s, education culture has been driven by anxiety. Learn about the history of "crisis" in U.S. education before investigating how America's educational system compares with schools and students in other countries. Focus on TIMSS in particular, which tracks mathematics and science achievement in about…
From National Student to Global Citizen
Explore how education in countries around the world develops global citizens by imparting a combination of identity, knowledge, skills, and action--both explicitly and implicitly--to engender concern for making the world a better place. Examine curricula designed to focus on global citizenry, including the International Baccalaureate and instruction created by Oxfam.
The Foundations of Civil Society
Think critically about political socialization and why it plays such a large part in education worldwide by looking closely at the various ways students are politically socialized, the results of these efforts, and who realistically--rather than ideally--benefits.
The Value in Linking School to Jobs
Many business and industry leaders say there is no connection between formal school education--which teaches information, but not skills--and what is needed in the world of work. Investigate renewed global efforts to test whether vocational training can better prepare youth to participate in the emerging technology-driven knowledge economy.