Starting Point                                                 Page 6


Global Connections at Home  


About the time I was applying some final touches to William Skilling’s article (“Chinese Connections”) in this issue, I came across a feature in The Wall Street Journal that detailed American families who were moving to China temporarily to give their children a leg up in learning Mandarin, acknowledged as today’s must-learn language.

Skilling, the 55-year-old superintendent in Oxford, Mich., has spent the better part of four years acting on the need to provide pacesetting learning opportunities that will leave students well prepared in the global marketplace. He’s traveled to China with missionary zeal some 14 times since 2008, leading to a series of progressive initiatives that he references in his published account.

These include his school district’s operation of a small high school in Fushun, China, with a second on the way; an international residency academy in Oxford that currently serves 25 Chinese students; and a partnership with the Beijing Institute of Education to do joint teacher and principal training. Most impressively perhaps, Oxford operates a fluency-based Mandarin Chinese language and cultural program for more than 2,400 of its own students. World language study is a core requirement for all students over 11 years.

As you read the insightful writing here by Marc Tucker, Pasi Sahlberg, Tony Wagner and Jay Mathews on American education in the worldwide context, I think you’ll appreciate how some public schools, like those in Oxford, are attending to global competitiveness under the guidance of inspired leadership.

Jay P. Goldman, Editor
Voice: 703-875-0745
E-mail: jgoldman@aasa.org


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