Living in a highly interdependent world is not an option—but at present, being educated to do so competently is. Despite the many courses and initiatives designed to support international and global education in colleges and universities around the country, the undergraduate curriculum as a whole is not adequately preparing most students to be capable global citizens (see Reimers 2013; National Research Council 2007). Lack of serious commitment to designing a curriculum that prioritizes global learning for all undergraduates has on most campuses made global education a peripheral undertaking, limited primarily to those students and faculty specializing in international area studies. Without leadership to make global education more central to the undergraduate curriculum, global learning will become ever more marginal—with compounding consequences for most college graduates, who will be ill-equipped to live as global citizens.
Bringing global education to the core must begin with deliberation among faculty and administrators about the kinds of competencies graduates should be able to demonstrate, and to what purpose. Imagine, for example, a world where all college graduates understand how their lives are influenced by global processes and events, where they have the motivation and capacity to collaborate with others across national boundaries to advance the well-being of humans and the planet.…
Increasing efficiency of education is a major goal in Mexico, as in much of Latin America. Education provides much of the human and social capital needed for effective participation in society and at work. Fernando Reimers argues that serious improvements in the quality of education must focus on questions of purpose as well as of efficiency in the delivery of education. Too often the concern with efficiency overrides fundamental questions about the purposes of schools. Often policy reforms to address efficiency make unwarranted asumptions about contextual conditions that can turn the intended purposes of those policies on their heads; for instance, the current popularity of policies to expand the decision making authority of principals assumes that they have incentives and are capable of improving instruction in schools. Reimers shows how in Mexico there are serious problems that undermine the effectiveness of school principals: part of the explanation for the lack of efficiency in education lies with social attitudes that favor men and make it difficult for women to advance in their professions. This in turn creates deep problems for the purpose of teaching students an egalitarian and tolerant set of values, essential to effective citizenship in a democratic society. In this chapter Reimers demonstrates how to productively combine a focus on the purposes of schools with a focus on the efficiency of education delivery.
In this chapter, I examine a topic inadequately addressed in current discusssions about education in developing countries: teaching quality. I argue that teaching quality is important if schools are to help students develop capabilities of consequence to improve their life chances, especially if students cannot develop those capabilities in other institutions. I further argue that we need to think about teaching quality as a complex process, on that incorporates both normative and positive elements and that integrates what teachers do with how students make meaning and understand what their teachers do. The focus of this paper is on the relationship between teaching quality and the literacy skills of marginalized children. In supporting these arguments with empirical analysis of a nationally representative sample of sixth graders in Mexico, I address two research questions: How do variations in the literacy skills of various groups of sixth graders relate to the different circumstances they experience at home? How do their literacy skills relate to the teaching they experience in schools? I conclude that teaching quality, as reported by students, is as related to learning outcomes as parental educationand other home advantages. This finding is important: While the intergenerational transmission of educational advantages within families is widely accepted as a sociological and psychological fact, the importance of instructional quality and the conceptualization of teaching quality are not as widely established or accepted.