Global Washington’s K-20 Education Summit, November 18th

by Anna von Essen

What is global education? And how do we make sure that all students in the State of Washington (K-20) receive a truly global education that prepares them to succeed in a globally connected, dependent world?

These are just a few of the critical questions that  150 attendees began to answer at Global Washington’s Global K-20 Education Summit on Friday November 18th, 2011.  The Global Education Summit, hosted by Seattle University, drew together community leaders, educators, and students who care about the future of our state and our young people.  They discussed the ways that Washington State can develop a plan to provide all students with the best education – a global education.

At the Summit, participants learned about innovative global education projects throughout Washington State and the need for global education in order to build a global, civically-engaged community. Key discussions highlighted the importance of global education as a benefit for the local economy by providing jobs and opportunity for innovations in various sectors. Speakers also highlighted the need for global education as a means to connect youth to their school community, their local community and the global community. Erin Jones, Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement at The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and recipient of the Milken Educator for Washington State in 2007, gave a poignant testimonial and shared her passion for global education.  She also gave guests a call to action stating “we absolutely must educate every child with equity & excellence,” which includes giving our students language learning and global learning opportunities. She believes students can be literate, globally educated, and have good math scores!

A panel of speakers discussed the intersection between global education in Washington State and global development work in education internationally.  Global Washington has the unique ability to bring together the local education sector and the global development sector. It is clear that the more globally prepared our students are, the more they will be able to productively engage with our state’s strong global development sector –as engaged citizens, caring donors, or global development professionals.  These two fields have a lot to learn from each other.

John Boyd, Executive Director of K-12 Schools North End Highline School District and Noah Zeichner, a social studies teacher at Chief Sealth International High School talked about bringing global issues into the classroom and providing study abroad opportunities to transform and empower students. Treshawn Jackson, a student from Chief Sealth International High School, participated in a global leadership program through Global Visionaries. Strengthened by this experience, Treshawn shared that he now feels more comfortable at school and speaking to his community about global issues.

The Summit was engaging and participative.  It offered an opportunity for attendees to learn, share their thoughts, and plan future actions to address current needs and challenges facing education in Washington State. In addition to learning from keynote speakers, participants were encouraged to actively take the conversation to the next stage. Since March 2011, Global Washington’s Global Education Initiative has been gathering recommendations for improving global education in Washington through over 200 interviews and conversations with key stakeholders. Summit participants evaluated these draft recommendations and added their own input. This feedback will be used to start implementing a collaborative action plan for global education in Washington State.

The final goal of these recommendations is to increase the number of globally competent and engaged graduates in Washington State. There a strong need to get the word out about the importance and benefits of global education to communities across the State. Global Washington is doing exactly that. Global Washington will publish a paper discussing the need for global education in Washington State and advocate for final recommendations beginning in 2012.

The Global Education Summit launched a collaborative movement to increase the global opportunity in our education system. Building on the previous work of the Global Education Coalition, and many schools and nonprofits across the state, we are ready to create a broad state-wide movement for all students.  Summit participants defined global education as “connection,” “opportunity,” “engagement,” “tolerance,” “innovation,” “understanding.”  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to offer these qualities and values to Washington’s students?

You can be involved in the Initiative by helping us spread the word!  If you want to get the word out to your colleagues about this Initiative please send us your contact information.