NAESP members and staff continue to revisit the strategic issues introduced in the Vision 2021 process—including the need to prepare students to be global citizens. Rich Datz, general manager of Education World, a Web site that offers  practical information for teachers and administrators, thinks that schools will soon follow the lead of corporations that routinely learn in global, project-based teams. Datz is following the expansion of project-based work among international companies and predicts that in six to 10 years it should also be common for principals, teachers, and students to use global virtual networks to collaborate in learning. For example, Datz finds that teachers already collaborate extensively in curriculum development.How schools prepare students to be global citizens is emerging as one of the top strategic issues in NAESP’s Vision 2021 project. Principals will be leading schools that prepare students to be global citizens for an interconnected and collaborative world. When today’s elementary school students join the global workforce, they will need to be experienced in working with teams that span geographic boundaries.

Datz recommends that principals start preparing students for global collaboration by creating projects with other schools within the district. The same skills and technologies, once developed, can be extended to schools anywhere. Datz is less certain about the urgency for American students to acquire a second language to succeed in a global workplace because English is the language of business for people everywhere. But he agrees with the Vision 2021 focus group participants that cultural competencies will be vital.  Schools have a role to play in helping children unlearn stereotypes and in preparing to live and work in a culturally diverse society. This demographic change is happening faster, Datz says, than either businesses or schools recognize.

NAESP leaders recognize the need to help principals prepare to create a positive educational culture that draws on the strengths of diverse cultures and languages. Do you agree or disagree with Datz’s observations?