A World-Class Education

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by Vivien Stewart

In the 20th century, the United States was the world leader in education—the first country to achieve universal secondary education and the first to expand higher education beyond the elite class. Now other countries are catching up and leaping ahead—in high school graduation rates, in the quality and equity of their K–12 education systems, and in the proportion of students graduating from college. It is not that American education has gotten worse so much that education in other parts of the world has gotten so much better, so fast.

Designed to promote conversation about how to educate students for a rapidly changing and increasingly borderless and innovation-based world, this comprehensive and illuminating book from international education expert Vivien Stewart is not about casting blame; it is about understanding what the best school systems in the world are doing right for the purpose of identifying what U.S. schools—at the national, state, and local level—might do differently and better. Here, you’ll consider:

  • How the U.S. education system fares against emerging international standards of excellence.
  • The policies, practices, and priorities of the world’s best-performing systems, along with specific ideas for adapting these approaches for U.S. schools.
  • The common factors characteristic of high-performing and rapidly improving systems.
  • New models of 21st century teaching and leadership and ways to modernize curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
  • How technology and international exchange can help the United States close performance gaps and reach new levels of excellence and equity.

Learning goes both ways, Stewart writes. Other countries have learned a great deal from the United States, and now it is time for American educators to open their eyes to other nations’ globally-minded and future-focused practices, leverage existing assets, and create a truly world-class education system for this generation of students and generations to come.

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— Vivien Stewart, A World-Class Education