NJDOE News

For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Richard Vespucci
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director
    609-292-1126

For Release : September 13, 2005


DOE to Host Regional International Education Forums

Educators interested in learning new and effective ways to incorporate international education into middle and high school courses are invited to participate in a series of regional discussion and awareness forums, beginning this month.

Registration for the forums may be found at: http://education.state.nj.us/events and contains details of the program as well as directions to forum sites. There is no registration fee.

"New Jersey is firmly committed to the idea that international education is an essential part of our children’s ability function successfully in higher education, in the workplace, and in their communities," said Acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy. "More and more, teachers and administrators have embraced this concept and are excited about finding ways to infuse international education into their programs."

International education is based on the premise that advances in technology and the economy have sharply increased the need for nations to communicate and do business with each other. Education research indicates that students now in school will have a greater need for learning about the people, cultures, and economies of other countries, to ensure their success after they graduate from high school.

The New Jersey International Education Initiative began in response to a national initiative led by the Asia Society following a report issued in 2001 by the National Commission on Asia in the Schools. The report in part found that American students lacked knowledge about the world, in particular, about Asia and Asia’s importance to the world in terms of population growth and economic ties to the United States and other countries.

As New Jersey joins the rest of the nation in reforming its high schools, it is including global education as an important component. When students now in high school graduate, they will be expected to: buy and sell products and services with the world, work for international companies, manage employees from other countries and cultures, compete with people around the world for jobs and markets, work with people all over the world in joint ventures, and solve global problems such as AIDS, avian flu, air and water pollution and disaster recovery.

Many New Jersey schools are preparing students to handle these types of issues by building new lessons into their existing course offerings, particularly in the areas of social studies, world languages and economics. Students in some school districts, for example, are learning Chinese, a language that would not have been part of the curriculum just a few years ago. In other districts, students are using technology to meet and speak with students in other countries through videoconferences.

The upcoming forums build upon discussions that took place during the first New Jersey International Education Summit, which was held in October 2004. The state hosted the summit to stimulate interest and knowledge among teams of teachers, administrators and curriculum coordinators on how to prepare students for the challenges of an increasingly global workforce.

The regional discussion forums, which will be scheduled from September to November 2005, will be presented by 2004 New Jersey Teacher of the Year Peggy Stewart, a social studies teacher in Sussex County and a Yale Fellow who has an extensive background in international education.

The forums, funded through a grant from the Longview Foundation, are free to participating districts. They will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will accommodate 100 educators at each site. The dates and locations follow:

September 26, 2005 at Montclair State University (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic)

September 30, 2005 at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (Atlantic, Cape May, Ocean)

October 26, 2005 at the Gloucester County Office of Education (Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem

October 27, 2005 at Raritan Valley Community College (Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset)

November 1, 2005 at the PSEG Training Center, Edison (Middlesex, Monmouth, Union

November 3, 2005 at the Morris County Fire/Police Training Center, Parsippany (Sussex, Morris, Warren)

Districts are encouraged to come in teams that include an administrator and teachers representing several content areas. Information shared at the forum discussion and awareness sessions will be to be used in the development of a five-year international education implementation plan. Questions? Contact: janis.jensen@doe.state.nj.us or (609) 777-4658.

NOTE: Reporters and photographers are invited and encouraged to attend.