Tuesday, September 30, 2008

High School Give-and-Take

In the September 2008 issue of National Geographic there is an article on high school international education exchanges. This article, while brief, provides an interesting data chart on the flow of secondary school students to and from the United States.

You can access the article here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/09/exchange/silver-text

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bono on CNN American Morning

On Friday, September 26th, Bono was interviewed by CNN anchor John Roberts about the ONE Campaign and last week’s UN General Assembly. You can access the interview here:


Friday, September 26, 2008

School Choice Continuum

On one side of the school choice continuum (the left) you have public-public choice which is a liberal egalitarian perspective and on the right side of the school choice continuum you have the public-private choice which is more of a neo-liberal or neo-conservative perspective and in the middle is the semi-private choice. According to Martin, the public-public choice options include: a school within a school, intra-district schools, inter-district schools and magnet schools. The semi-private choices include charter schools and home schooling and the public-private choices include vouchers and tuition tax credits.

In his article, Sweetland reviews the economics principles that have been brought into the school choice debate. Sweetland discusses free markets and the concept of competition and notes “today the school must cater to multiple social, political, religious, and economic demands. A consumer orientation is developing, but who is the customer?” Sweetland answers this question with “everyone” is the customer as “the public school complex was designed to serve everyone, not just the best, brightest, or most able.” By introducing competition (i.e. vouchers) as a choice for parents will “drive schooling costs down and effectiveness up.”

Fowler goes beyond the “superficial levels” of the school choice debate which are “how students should be assigned to schools? and which schools should receive public funding?” to briefly discuss the “deeper levels” of this debate. These “deeper levels” of the school choice debate include “the nature of human beings and society, the purpose of education, the right of parents to make crucial decisions about the welfare of their children, religious freedom, and the social prerequisites of democracy.” Fowler also discusses market ideology and provides a good example of inviting the chairman of the Ohio Senate Education Committee to his graduate education policy course and the chairman describes schools as businesses like McDonalds and are encouraged to compete against each other.

Gorard, Taylor and Fitz discuss the concept of “spiral of decline.” The authors describe a “spiral of decline” and how markets lead to this decline “rests heavily on two key components: a fall in numbers and an increasingly disadvantaged intake of children.” The authors conclude that it is very difficult to answer the question of school choice leading to spirals of decline primarily due to lack of longitudinal data and a “lack of agreed definitions."

Jellison Holme’s article provides a very interesting look at adult social networks and status in relation to school choice. The parents in this study had the financial means to either attend a private school or to move to a neighboring city and send their children to public schools they felt would be the best. Rather than investigating all of the educational opportunities available to them in their local and surrounding areas they relied on the advice of their social network of peers to guide their decisions to purchase a new home in a new community. Regardless of this being an appropriate method or not, those families who did decide to move were, in a way, increasing their social capital.

Sliwka and Istance provide an interesting European perspective and overview to the school choice debate. One of the main focuses of their article is on diversity through alternative forms of schooling such as selective vs. non-selective, public vs. private, and formal vs. home schooling. In there article, Sliwka and Istance look at “exit” behavior as a result of school choice. They describe this “exit” behavior as “choosing a different school, or even abandoning formal schooling altogether, means to leave another school behind. A key issue for school systems today is thus the impact overall of these aggregated ‘exit’ decisions – on quality, on the schools that are predominantly left behind, and on equity in general.”

While there are many “levels” to the school choice debate as seen in the literature and identified by Fowler, the main issue I see is one of economics. Economics on a personal level (micro) and what one can and cannot afford in terms of schools for their children to economics at the school level (macro) and the debate about free markets and competition have a heavy presence in the school choice debate.


Fowler, Frances C. “The Great School Choice Debate,” The Clearing House, 2002): 4-7.

Gorard, S., Chris Taylor and John Fitz. “Does School Choice Lead to ‘Spirals of Decline’?” in Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 17 no. 3, (2002): 367-384.

Jellison Holme, Jennifer. “Buying Homes, Buying Schools: School Choice and the Social Construction of School Quality,” Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 72 no. 2, (2002): 177-205.

Sliwka, Anne and David Istance. “Choice, Diversity and ‘Exit’ in Schooling – A Mixed Picture,” European Journal of Education, Vol. 41 no. 1, (2006): 45-58.

Sweetland, Scott R. “Theory into Practice: Free Markets and Public Schooling,” The Clearing House, (2002): 6-12.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Changing the Face of Study Abroad

On September 26th the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article entitled “Changing the Face of Study Abroad”. It’s an interesting read and I thought many readers might find it of interest. You can access the article here: http://tinyurl.com/3zfze5

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Grateful Dead to Reunite and Play PSU in Support of Barack Obama

Following up on the February, 2008 show of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead in support of Barack Obama they will reunite again October 13th at Penn State University in support of the Obama campaign. The Obama campaign has received support from other musicians when Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds performed a benefit for Obama at the University of Indiana in April.

You can read more here:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Increase in the number of German students studying abroad

The DAAD reported in its September 12th weekly newsletter that Germany is seeing an increase in the number of German students studying abroad at foreign universities. According to the German Federal Statistics Office (Destatis), the number of German students studying abroad increased 7.5% over last year and that the number has nearly doubled since 1996. Approximately 4.8% of German students study abroad each year with top destinations being the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland.

Call for Papers - Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars

Phi Beta DeltaHonor Society for International Scholars

Twenty-Third Annual International Conference on the World’s Shared KnowledgeComing together at the Water’s Edge: Cooperation and Collaboration in a Changing Global Environment

April 2–3, 2009 — Miami, Florida

Phi Beta Delta’s annual conference is intended to provide a welcoming and collegial venue foracademicians, students, and professionals in all fields to engage in discussion on international topics and issues across disciplines. The emphasis is to engage in discussion and professional growth with others inside and outside one’s own particular discipline. Consequently, we encourage submissions representing all areas of study; ones that offer insights from multiple disciplines and perspectives will be particularly welcome.

As we gather together at the water’s edge on the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, we seek to explore what it means to be a member of the community of international learners faced with the challenges—and opportunities—that arise out of a changing global environment. How can cooperation and collaboration expand our ability to overcome these challenges and avail ourselves of the opportunities that exist? What do these new challenges and opportunities mean for those of us who seek greater cooperation and collaboration within our community of international learners? What lessons have we learned from the past and what insights can we gain from our artistic and literary expression of the human experience that can help us face the challenges of a changing global environment? It is questions like these that we will explore “together at the water’s edge.”

Instructions for Authors: Submissions require the following:
(1) one page that includes author’s name, title/position, institution, postal address, email address, office phone, fax number (if available), and the title of your paper; and

(2) a second page with the title and short (300 words) abstract of your paper, list of key words, and an introduction that summarizes the contributions of the paper at a level appropriate for anon-specialist reader.

Please submit these items via electronic means in MS Word to
jdelosreyes@uh.edu by November 15, 2008. Submissions will be acknowledged via email by December 1, 2008. Final abstracts of accepted submissions will be posted on the Society’s website after the conference’s conclusion. Additional details regarding registration for the conference will be posted on the website shortly. www.phibetadelta.org

For more information regarding paper submissions, please contact:
Guillermo de los Reyes, Ph.D.

Department of Hispanic Studies

University of Houston

413 Agnes Arnold Hall

Houston, TX 77204-3006

Fax: 713-743-0935

E-mail: jdelosreyes@uh.edu

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Status of Posts this Week

Dear Readers,

On Friday, September 12th my wife and I had a baby boy so I've been a little busy adjusting to life with a third child and have had limited access to the internet as well as news on international education issues for postings. I hope to resume regular posts in the coming days.

Friday, September 12, 2008

HR1070 Study Abroad Bill in Illinois General Assembly

During my recent research efforts I came across a bill (HR1070) submitted to the Illinois General Assembly which essentially requests that the Illinois Board of Higher Education investigate funding options to State universities for study abroad programs. The bill was first introduced by Rep. Maria Antonia Berrios on March 6th with additional co-sponsors Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Jack McGuire joining in May. The bill was re-referred to the Rules Committee on July 1st where it currently remains today.

Simply google "HR 1070" and it will be the first link in the search.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Short-Term Study Abroad Credits

There was an interesting article in today’s insidehighered.com entitled “Calculating Credits for Short-Term Study Abroad”. The article demonstrates a great variety of approaches to institutional policies in awarding transfer credit for courses (taken internationally or domestically). You can access the article here: http://insidehighered.com/news/2008/09/11/studyabroad

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

American International Recruitment Council (AIRC)

An interesting new organization has been formed recently to focus on international recruitment efforts of U.S. higher education institutions. The American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) is a non-profit organization made up of educational institutions in the United States. The AIRC website indicates the organization’s purpose as follows:

“The purpose of the organization is to i) develop standards of ethical practice pertaining to recruitment of international students to American educational institutions, such standards to address two constituencies: Educational Institutions and Student Recruitment Agents; ii) develop best practices and training to assist overseas student recruitment agents and institutions themselves to better serve both students seeking admission to American educational institutions, and iii) establish a framework through which participating agents can have their practices certified. In addition, the organization may undertake other activities as are necessary to accomplish its goals.”

You can access the AIRC website here: http://www.airc-education.org/

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

NAFSA 2008 Presidential Election Resources

I thought several readers might be interested in the resources NAFSA has compiled and is hosting on its website about the 2008 Presedential Election. For frequent readers of this blog you know that I feature and discuss public diplomacy and soft power from time to time and this web resources provides many great resources in this area. You can access NAFSA's site here: http://www.nafsa.org/public_policy.sec/election08

Monday, September 8, 2008

Key Conceptual Frameworks of Social Justice of each of the Three Social Theoretical Perspectives Concerning Education

Defining social justice can be a difficult thing. Not only individually but also collectively. When applied to the three social theoretical perspectives concerning education, the concept of social justice can have very different meanings. Within the functionalism perspective, the concept of social justice generally refers to the equality of educational opportunity. Specifically, rewards will be granted and achieved on the basis of achievement (Feinberg and Soltis). Feinberg and Soltis further explain this as “the idea of equal opportunity means that individuals are to be chosen for certain roles and rewarded on the basis of achieved, rather than ascribed, characteristics.” A good example of educational advancement based on achievement can be found in the Kjeldal, Rindfleish and Sherridan article “Deal-Making and Rule-Breaking: Behind the Façade of Equity in Academia.” In Australia (and arguably in numerous other countries, including the United States), women have been historically underrepresented in academic positions above the senior lecturer level. Kjeldal, Rindfleish and Sherridan provide interesting data showing that 15.5% of men are above the senior lecturer position while only 3.5% of women were in positions above the senior lecturer level. While there is certainly a system of achievement equaling advancement the authors found that due to academic employment in historically lower level positions led to lower levels achievement. In other words, women were not in positions to receive grant funds or have the time outside of teaching to conduct research, both of which can lead to advancement beyond the senior lecturer level. Another example of this is found in the O’Connor article where she is discussing Kingston’s theory that teachers place high value on certain characteristics such as ability, hard work, staying out of trouble, etc. and that this does not reflect social biases that produce high achievement but “professionally informed assessments of which characteristics are essential to high academic and subsequent social achievement.” O’Connor further describes Kingston’s view and states “hard work, ability, articulateness, and staying out of trouble are wholly objective and culturally unambiguous phenomena.”

The conflict theorist’s view of social justice in education would be one of structural equality. In other words, there would be no struggle for power and that competition and achievement would have no place in the school. In a certain way, the EEO legislation in Australia (and in the United States) is an effort to create such a structural equality. Certainly functionalism is at play in this article about women academic in Australia as competition and achievement are driving the desire to gain power by advancing to high levels in the educational system. However, the conflict theorist would argue for a level playing field in the selection of academic positions beyond the senior lecturer position. The real question is how does one determine who is qualified and what would the selection criteria be? O’Connor provides a good discussion on social identity and what I believe relates to conflict theory. Specifically, O’Connor states:

“At the structural level, social identities reflect divisions in society that are marked by systematic material and/or power inequalities. Thus, class identity is marked by the fact that those with wealth have privilege and power compared to those without…Thus women, unlike men, are subordinated by sexism; minorities, unlike whites, are subordinated by racism; and the poor and working class, unlike the middle class, are subordinated by classism. It is these three structural divisions – race, class, and gender – that have generally preoccupied sociologists of education.”

The concept of social justice in the interpretivist approach to education can, in my opinion, vary from school to school of from culture to culture. The interpretivist approach to social justice is society specific (society can be any size) and not universal. In the Kjeldal, Rindfleish and Sherridan the issue of social justice from an interpretivist viewpoint is limited to women advancing in academia in Australia and the country’s EEO legislation and hiring practices and does not apply to the United States or other countries of the world. O’Connor provides an interpretivist’s view of social justice by stating “making sense of social identity is further complicated by the fact that social identities are also reflected and refracted differently across space…Thus, the experience of being black, male, and poor for example, is not exactly the same from one nation to the next, one school to the next, one family to the next, or one historical period to the next.

All three social theoretical perspectives concerning education have a different concept of social justice and how it can be realized in schools.


Feinberg, Walter & Jomas F. Soltis. School and Society. (4th ed.). (2004). New York: Teachers College, Columbia University Press.

Kjeldal, Sue-Ellen, Jennifer Rindfleish and Alison Sherridan. “Deal-Making and Rule-Breaking: Behind the Façade of Equity in Academia,” Gender and Education, Vol. 17 no. 4 (2005): 431-447.

O’Connor, Carla. “Making Sense of the Complexity of Social Identity in Relation to Achievement: A Sociological Challenge in the New Millenium,” Sociology of Education (2001) 159-168.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Global: Implications for Research and the Curriculum

My colleague at Brandeis University sent a very interesting posts to several NAFSA network discussions forums and I thought readers might find the links very interesting in their campus internationalization efforts and/or research efforts in this area. Following is a cut and past summary of his post:

Last April, Brandeis University hosted a symposium called "The Global: Implications for Research and the Curriculum," geared for faculty across Brandeis’ schools. The symposium was a two-day conversation on the international dimensions of higher education.

While some of the discussion was specific to Brandeis, the model may be useful as you think about faculty engagement in internationalization.

A brief report on the symposium is available for download at: http://www.brandeis.edu/globalbrandeis/office/symposiumreport.pdf

The symposium web site is: http://www.brandeis.edu/globalbrandeis/office/the_global_symposium.html

Finally, streaming video of the keynote talk by Prof. Arjun Appadurai of the New School is available at:http://www.brandeis.edu/globalbrandeis/documents/globalimplications.mov

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Online Index of International Educator Articles on NAFSA Website

In early August 2008, NAFSA launched an online index of every article published in International Educator since its launch in 1990. You can search the index by author or by subject. This is an excellent resource for both researchers and practitioners. In case the message You can access the online index here: http://www.nafsa.org/publication.sec/international_educator_1/international_educator_3/ie_index

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Study Abroad Rating Website

During my recent research efforts I came across an interesting website that allows students to rate their study abroad experiences. It will be interesting to see what (if any) impact this website will have on the field. You can access the site here: http://rateyourstudyabroad.com/

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

European Commission: Young People Mobility

From the Vol. 5, No.7, September 2008 IAU E-Bulletin

The High Level Expert Forum on Mobility set up by the European Commission presented its final report Learning Mobility, an Opportunity for All in July. The task of this Forum was to reflect and make recommendations on how to promote, improve and create more opportunities for the mobility of all European young people aged 16-29. http://ec.europa.eu/education/doc/2008/mobilityreport_en.pdf