1st Annual Washington State Global Issues Network Coming!

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Community Partners,

As many of you know, for the past four years, students and teachers at Chief Sealth International High School have organized a weeklong festival called World Water Week. This year we are doing something new and exciting: the first annual Washington State Global Issues Network (WAGIN) Conference.

March 6-8, 2015 (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) we plan to host a few hundred middle and high school students at Chief Sealth IHS. We are partnering with Global Issues Network (GIN), a nonprofit that supports Global Issues conferences in Latin America and Asia. They have worked with a couple of independent schools in the U.S., but our conference will be the first international youth conference of its kind in the United States. The latest GIN conference took place in Buenos Aires in late October. You can watch videos of the student workshop sessions on the conference YouTube channel.

Here’s what WAGIN 2015 will look like:

  • We will have some school-wide events and activities during the week leading up the conference. The content of the conference includes water, but is much broader. See our conference website for the list of 20 global issues.
  • All students who attend the conference will present workshop sessions about action projects that they have carried out (connected to one or more of the 20 global issues). All workshops are youth-led.
  • Keynotes (2-3 per day). We are in the process of inviting some exciting speakers.
  • Throughout the weekend, students will meet in “Global Villages” – these are groups of 10 students, all from different schools, who will have small group discussions (facilitated by youth).
  • Each team of students that attend (2-6 in a team) will create a 1-2 minute trailer for their workshop. These will be shown as part of a film festival throughout the weekend.
  • There will be a Global Action Fair with nonprofit organizations who carry out work related to the 20 global issues. Our 9th grade students will also be sharing their Water Ecology and Sustainability Action Team (WEST) Projects at this time.
  • We are inviting schools from around the region to participate. We will also be hosting several schools from Latin America and Asia that are part of the GIN network.
  • There are over 100 leadership roles for students for planning and implementing the conference. Several student committees have been meeting for the past two months.

We have started our fundraising efforts. We are reaching out to several local businesses. (We will charge a registration fee for student teams that covers meals and other general expenses – we hope raise enough money to allow local public school students to attend for free).

WAGIN will share some things in common with World Water Week:

  • global issues focus
  • it will touch all students in our school
  • youth-led
  • powerful keynotes

And it will bring some new elements:

  • broader list of topics
  • we will bring together students from public, private, and international schools
  • weekend event
  • larger budget

There are several ways that you can be involved in the WAGIN Conference:

  • Participate in the Global Action Fair on Friday, March 6. Organizations will have tables, and some may choose to present workshops.
  • Be a keynote speaker or connect us to dynamic individuals who would be excited to speak to youth.
  • Connect us to local businesses and organizations that might want to be a sponsor or provide in-kind donations (we are looking for breakfast and snack items right now).
  • Spread the word about this opportunity to teachers and school networks. Registration information will available soon.

Noah Zeichner
Social Studies / International Education
Chief Sealth International High School

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World Educator – Noah Zeichner

Congratulations to Noah Zeichner, the 2013-2014 World Educator award recipient from the World Affairs Council in Seattle.

From their website: https://www.world-affairs.org/programs/global-classroom/world-educator-award/2013-world-educator-award/

For almost a decade, Noah has taught Social Studies and Spanish at Sealth International High School. He works diligently to keep each of his students engaged on a global level. For the past six years Noah has taught a class called Global Leadership in which students learn to work as a community as they learn about contemporary global problems. His students then take their knowledge to a nearby elementary school and teach 5th graders lessons that they develop together. For the past three years, he has facilitated a student-led, school-wide festival called World Water Week. This year he helped organize an interdisciplinary 9th grade project (world history/language arts/science) at Chief Sealth. Three hundred students studied water issues and created action projects based on research done during a field experience day. The ten 9th grade classes were connected with ten classes in Kenya with whom they shared their findings. Currently, Noah is deeply engaged in the development of the dual language/Spanish immersion program at Chief Sealth, the first of its kind in the region (content area classes in Spanish).

Read more at: https://www.world-affairs.org/programs/global-classroom/world-educator-award/

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How global is Washington?

New map illustrates importance of global competence for U.S. students

Nearly one million data points have been collected to prove what parents, businesspeople, and policymakers already know: American students must be globally competent to succeed in the interconnected 21st century. “Mapping the Nation: Linking Local to Global,” a new online resource from Asia Society, the Longview Foundation, and analytics leader SAS, makes a compelling case for a globally competent workforce and citizenry.

Launched at the U.S. Department of Education by Secretary Duncan, Mapping the Nation presents data at state and county levels to show international connections for every county in the U.S. – from jobs tied to global trade and immigrants with rich linguistic resources, to billions of dollars contributed to our economy by international students studying here. It also reveals a significant education gap: Not enough U.S. students at any level, K-16, are gaining the global knowledge and skills needed for success in this new environment.

Check out the our state page: http://mappingthenation.net/state-washington.html.

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International Education Update

We are excited to announce the return of the Washington State Coalition for International Education!

Please join us on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:00-8:30 pm for a conversation with Noah Zeichner, Chief Sealth International High School teacher and recipient of the 2013-14 World Educator Award. He will share highlights of his recent trip to Singapore with the Asia Society’s Global Cities Education Network and the Center for Teaching Quality.

You can read his recent blog posts to learn more: http://teachingquality.org/blogs/NoahZeichner. Noah will talk about global perspectives on 21st century competencies as well as his big takeaways from visiting schools in Singapore.

After Noah’s presentation, Steering Committee members from the Washington State Coalition of International Education will share an update from their recent meetings talking about revitalizing the International Education Coalition. (Learn more about the work of this virtual coalition of individuals and organizations that share a vision of Washington State: Preparing all students for today’s interconnected world at http://internationaledwa.org.)

Please register at:
(You can register your interest in the meeting even if you can’t attend. We’ll follow up later.)

When:  Tuesday, November 12, 2013 7:00-8:30 pm
Where:  Confucius Institute Education Center @ Chief Sealth International High School
2600 SW Thistle St, Seattle, WA, 98126
Cost:  Free
Who’s invited:  Anyone interested in international/global education from preschool through graduate school.

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What Does Competition Mean Today?

Competition takes many forms. It surrounds us as children on the playground. It increases as we realize classes rank students, then into the pressure of college acceptance, and next in the job market.  Competition is not only between individuals, it is also between organizations, and states.

As I mentioned in my post last week, our world is becoming ever more interconnected. And competition has taken a new form between nations. Never before have citizens from one country been able to directly compete with citizens of another country for spots in universities or jobs at such a large scale.

Competition results in both negative and positive outcomes. The negative outcomes are job insecurities and fewer resources from the home country spent on their citizens. For example, when international students study at US universities they are receiving an education that a citizen of the US could have received instead. The positive outcomes of competition on such a global scale are that it drives states and people to make improvements. Such competition drives development, which creates great things for society. Using the international student as an example again, they pay more than a US student, which is financially beneficial to the university. The student also brings different beliefs and strengths that can better all students attending the university.

If competition is negative and positive, how should we think about it? We should teach our students and citizens that this is the reality of the world they live in. We can even be friends with the people we compete with. Competition is a factor but there is so much more to our interactions with people that it should not negatively consume us.

Competition affects all of us. Whether it is a policy implemented by our government to develop weapons before other countries or it is as simple as students competing for a higher grade in school, we are surrounded by competition. Competition can make us better people, it can help us grow.

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A Student’s Perspective on International Education

“Contemporary societies are marked by new global trends—economic, cultural, technological, and environmental shifts that are part of a rapid and uneven wave of globalization. The growing global interdependence that characterizes our time calls for a generation of individuals who can engage in effective global problem solving and participate simultaneously in local, national, and global civic life. Put simply, preparing our students to participate fully in today’s and tomorrow’s world demands that we nurture their global competence” (Asia Society xiii).

As our world rapidly changes with globalization and interdependence, our infrastructures to keep students competitive and competent need to keep pace. Through classroom exchanges and their free time on the internet, students interact from young ages with people all over the world. From my experience growing up in Seattle, attending both public and private schools in the area, there are good global education practices at work. The most salient examples of international education in grade school and secondary school in Seattle are opportunities for students to explore a second language and study abroad.

However, these opportunities are often not fully taken advantage of by the majority of students due to finances and a common view that a second language is only a graduation requirement and not necessarily a lifelong skill. This is where our schools could greatly improve. Using the Asia Society’s Global Competence framework, schools could pursue much stronger academic areas of international education.

As a student at the University of Washington I see how competitive not only getting into a strong university is, but also after graduation how competitive the job market is. For example, “3 jobs are created for every 7 international students studying in the United States” (Mapping the Nation). In 2013 close to 820,000 international students studied at U.S. colleges (NPR). Not only are US students competing with each other but they are also competing with students from other countries. Competition is not the only factor that should drive the development of global competence in US schools, but it is important to recognize and adapt to.

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Exploring Global Issues Workshop

Join Facing the Future and Global Visionaries for a FREE day-long workshop to learn effective strategies to engage students in being active global citizens! You will walk away from this workshop with free resources, new approaches, and a community of support to begin integrating global issues and sustainable solutions into your classroom. This workshop also includes FREE clock hours!

Rick Steves will be the keynote speaker. He will share with us his thoughts on using the classroom as a springboard for building global awareness and global citizens. Steves has authored over 50 European travel guidebooks, hosts a weekly NPR show, writes a weekly column for the Chicago Tribune, and hosts a popular travel series on public television. He will give away free copies of his book, Travel as a Political Act, to workshop attendees.

Date: Friday, August 30th, 2013

Time: 8:30am-3:30pm

Location: University of Washington HUB Room 250, Seattle

Cost: FREE, includes free clock hours

The workshop is now full, but if you have any questions, email Noah Zeichner at nzeichner@gmail.com.

This workshop is presented by Facing the Future and Global Visionaries, in partnership with Global Washington, the World Affairs Council, Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Washington, Rick Steves’ Europe, and the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction International Education Office.

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Leadership in Global Education

The conversations that we had at Seattle University on November 18, 2011 could not happen in Missouri yet.

I attended the Global Competence in Education conference after being gone from Washington State for five years, coming from another Washington – Washington University in St. Louis where I am a PhD student in cultural and educational anthropology. When my husband was stationed at McChord AFB in Washington State, I was able to work with Global WA, the Coalition for International Education, iEARN, WAFLT, and many other organizations dedicated to increasing global education in Washington State by helping organize conferences, curricula, and teaching immersion French at Sheridan Elementary in Tacoma. When we moved to Scott AFB near St. Louis, I went back to school for a Masters in Islamic and Near Eastern Studies with a thesis on the diversity of modern Islamic education in Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan. In my PhD program, I now specialize in educational pluralism and reform in the Middle East. My interest in international and comparative education is tightly wound with an interest in developing multilingualism and global education in the U.S. However, in the four states I’ve lived previously and in the two states I’ve lived since, I haven’t found the passion for global education that exists in Washington State.

Though I’m also involved in education reform in St. Louis, the conversation is about financial propriety, increasing early childhood education, reaching full teacher certification, bus schedules, food service, parental involvement, desegregation policies, and other elements of how the education system is run — but not what or how we’re teaching the children of St. Louis to fit into the globalized 21st century. A large part of the panic is due to the loss of accreditation by the Missouri State Board of Education in 2007. However, many of the best success stories in St. Louis are through innovative school practice: the highest ranking high school in Missouri is the public, magnet Metro Academic and Classical High School (also one of Newsweek’s top 100 best public schools in America) and the highest ranking elementary school in Missouri is the public, magnet Kennard Classical Junior Academy.

While teaching at Sheridan Elementary School of International Language, we were encouraged to show that global education was not an elite luxury, but the definition of good public education in the 21st century.

President of Seattle University Father Sundborg, Karen Kodama, and others expressed how students, teachers, and business leaders do not need to be convinced that global education and competency-building are important. Father Sundborg said, “Students have a hunger and ability to connect with people around the world. We don’t need to put the global in young people, we need to educate it.”

Seattle BioMed’s Theresa Britschgi and Wells Fargo’s Marco Abruzzese noted that the largest problems in the world are global and can only be solved through global collaboration. Alan Burke from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction lamented that “there is a world full of jobs we’re not preparing our kids for.”

In an interview with Byron Clemens, Vice President at AFT 420, the local St. Louis teachers’ union, he noted how well the magnet schools were doing in St. Louis and pondered, “Why couldn’t they all be magnet schools?” His question gets at the heart of the need to change education in the US, since our public education system has not caught up with the 21st century. As Karen Kodama said, “Today’s high school students graduate into a world vastly different from the 20th century.” It’s time we taught them differently as well.

Susan Jeffords, Board Vice President of Global Washington and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Washington in Bothell, challenged Washington State to be the leader of global education in the U.S. I am convinced that the work being done in Washington State, and the conference work on the roadmap to global education, could lead the other states in the right direction.

Although such a conference could not currently be held in St. Louis, the city and state exist in the same globalized, 21st century world as Seattle, Washington. In St. Louis, we may have to convince students, teachers, and business leaders that global education is the key to future success. And it will take time to develop the network of non-profits, development organizations, international schools, corporate sponsorships, and teacher professional development that Washington State has been developing for the last decade. Hopefully, it will not take Missouri a decade to hold our own Global Competence in Education conference since we can learn from Washington’s model and expand current best practices.

I commend all the participants and everyone involved in global education in Washington State for their work, their leadership, and their hope in a peaceful, prosperous, interconnected present and future.

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What can we learn from Jordan?

I had a wonderful conversation today with a graduate student who is studying Educational Anthropology. (What a fabulous description of a field of study that is so needed today.) Rebecca was living in the Northwest while her husband was stationed at McChord Air Force Base in 2005-2006. For about 9 months she was the best possible intern/volunteer/assistant/”do anything that needs to be done” person I’ve ever met. She helped me put on a Youth Summit “Beyond Islam: Understanding the Muslim World,” a United States Institute of Peace grant that I had when I was working at the World Affairs Council. She also helped organize the Early Language Symposium at the UW and the Heritage Language Workshop with Dr. Shuhan Wang in January, 2006, that was part of the International Education Coalition’s launch of its “Expanding Chinese Language Capacity” initiative.

In the past five years, Rebecca has been studying Arabic and traveling to the Middle East regularly. She is now preparing for her dissertation field work in Jordan where she plans to develop case studies in comparative and international education.

You may be wondering what Jordan has to teach “us” in the U.S. Quite a lot. In fact, it turns out that we in the U.S. know almost nothing about educational systems in a number of nations. That’s something that Rebecca would like to change. I’m glad to introduce you to her here and look forward to her posts!


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New Finds on Global Education!

Fellow Global Education Enthusiasts, I am excited about two new finds!
Check out these links and share your thoughts here!

1) “Connect All Schools”

This website is just what it sounds like. Citing a line from President Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, the “About” section of the site explains the goal of connecting all schools in the US with schools in other countries by 2016. The website encourages educators to:
1. Read “stories” written by other educators who have successfully “connected” their classrooms,
2. Share their own “stories” of such connections, and
3. Support the effort to get every classroom in the US connected with another classroom internationally.
These connections might take the form of pen-pal relationships (traditional or the e-mail version), sister school relationships, or participation in collaborative projects through organizations such as iEARN, ePals, Global Nomads Group, Skoolaborate, or many, many others. (See their “partners” page or e-mail me for some more examples; I’m keeping a growing list!) Teachers might also arrange projects on their own. The Connect All Schools website has an official launch date coming up in mid-March, but you can see it online already and start contributing your own stories!

2) IONS “Worldview Literacy Curriculum”

First of all, okay, yes I did visit the IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) website only because I happened to read the latest Dan Brown page-turner, The Lost Symbol, over vacation. But once I got there, I was surprised to find that this organization, which conducts research into psychic phenomena and global consciousness, among other topics, is also researching the idea of “worldview.” They are even piloting curriculum materials in K-12 schools. The mission statement for this effort includes the idea of helping “youth and lifelong learners understand the fundamental role that worldview plays in their and others’ perceptions and behaviors.” This certainly sounds similar to ideas about perspective and cultural competence that you might hear global educators discussing. I am still working on learning more about this curriculum, but so far I have found out that it challenges students to grapple with questions such as:
 - “Where do your values and beliefs come from?” and
 - “How do you know what you know?”
Pretty big questions, but perhaps wrestling with them is fundamental to global citizenship. IONS held a training on their Worldview Literacy curriculum last summer. I will keep an eye on their website and see whether they decide to offer another one.

Thinking about both of these new finds, I found myself wondering, Is this all just too pie-in-the-sky? Can we ever really connect ALL schools? Is it too . . . ? What’s the word? Hokey? Touchy-feely? Do we really dare to pose these deep questions about worldviews, ways of knowing, consciousness, and interdependencies?

On the other hand, maybe the global education arena is just the place for visionaries. Perhaps we need to dream big – go ahead and imagine a world in which it is normal and expected for young people to grow up learning about our worldwide interconnectedness and discussing their own roles and beliefs with their peers internationally.

Don’t get me wrong; I still think we need hard data, numbers that will help us speak persuasively about the need for and the impacts of global education. But while we are working on piloting and researching our programs, let’s go ahead and dream big, imagine all schools connected, and ask those deep questions as we actively envision the future we’re working to create.

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