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A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation

Vivien Stewart

Table of Contents

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About This Book

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.

See the book's table of contents and read excerpts.

A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation

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Book Details

Table of Contents

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February 2012

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Reviews and Testimonials

Bill Gates lists Vivien Stewart's A World-Class Education as one of his Top Reads of 2012.

"Vivien Stewart circumnavigates the globe, distilling the systemic education success strategies of top countries into a compelling and practical guide for discussion. This book is a great springboard for education policy discussions at the district, state, and national levels about the decisions that will impact students of today."

—Jennifer Manise, Executive Director, Longview Foundation for Education in World Affairs

"No one is better qualified than Vivien Stewart to write about what Americans can learn from other countries with successful education systems and, just as important, how we can actually incorporate these lessons into our own teaching and learning. A copy of this book should be chained to the desk of every U.S. education policymaker at the local, state, and national levels."

—Edward B. Fiske, former education editor for The New York Times

"I think it’s refreshing to finally read a book that spells out exactly what Singapore and Finland, and other 'high-performing' countries, are doing differently. In well-written case studies, [Stewart] looks at Singapore, two Canadian provinces, Finland, China, and Australia, narrating how each country patiently and persistently improved their education system. Each vignette is a compelling read."

—Dave Orphal, teacher, Oakland, CA


About the Author

Viven Stewart, AuthorVIVIEN STEWART is senior education advisor and former vice president of Asia Society, where she has been leading a national effort to prepare American students and educators for the interconnected world of the 21st century. She has worked with schools around the country to broaden students’ educational experiences to prepare them for work and citizenship in a global age. She has worked with states to adapt their policies to a global knowledge economy, and she has developed resources for teachers to promote global knowledge and skills. Stewart has also used her unique international background in education to bring together education leaders from different countries to share expertise on how to respond to the rapid transformations of globalization and develop world-class educational systems.

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