In the wake of the terrible events of September 11, many state leaders are taking a closer look at how well students understand the international events unfolding around them and our country's interrelationship with other cultures. The term "international education" as used here refers to curricula, standards and other policies that provide K-12 students with instruction on the history, geography, cultures and languages of foreign nations. "International education" also refers to the skills needed to analyze and evaluate American interaction with foreign peoples and nations.
What might a sound system of international education include?
This Issue Site provides information on international education and its effect on students, as well as links to research, reports and other Internet resources addressing international education.
- Standards for geography and social studies in all grade levels that help students to: (1) understand world history and cultures, (2) recognize the reciprocity of influences between foreign and American cultures, and (3) appreciate the diversity of international cultures.
- Standards for foreign-language instruction that encourage effective language learning and encourage schools to introduce foreign-language instruction before grade 9.
- Programs that encourage student participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and tests on European history, foreign languages, comparative government and politics, human geography and world history.
- High school graduation requirements that include coursework in world history/geography and foreign language for all students, and which require students to attain a high level of knowledge and understanding of international cultures.
- Extended-day and extended-year programs such as after-school foreign-language programs and summer programs that deepen students' knowledge of geography, world history and foreign languages and cultures.
- Preservice teacher education requirements that include coursework for all teachers — regardless of grade level or subject-area specialization — in foreign languages, geography and world history.
- Geography endorsements, as opposed to a general "social studies" endorsement for teachers at the elementary, middle and secondary school levels.
- Foreign-language endorsements for teachers at the elementary and middle school levels.
- Well-publicized and organized opportunities for students and educators to participate in exchange programs, both sending individuals abroad as well as bringing individuals to the United States.