Our Current Landscape
The following are the key insights and observations into the landscape in which World Savvy operates, and how these will likely impact our future work.
- Our communities are more diverse, and therefore need to be more inclusive. By extension, our classrooms and learning environments must change to reflect the needs of students. In the U.S. and around the world, the population of youth enrolled in school is substantially more ethnically and culturally diverse than before; the population under 18 is already a collective majority, and this rich diversity is a call to action for K-12 institutions to make learning more relevant, responsive, and engaging for students.
- Our communities—and the world—need more problem solvers and changemakers, prepared to cooperate and collaborate across borders. We’re addressing intractable challenges like nuclear nonproliferation, global health, poverty and economic development, racial and gender equality, and climate change that no country can address in isolation. Global competence provides the foundational skills and dispositions that prepare young people for this level of collaboration and cooperative problem solving.
- A rapidly evolving global economy has redefined workforce readiness, requiring a more nuanced set of competencies from graduates that are aligned with World Savvy’s approach. 65% of today’s grade schoolers will hold jobs in the future that don’t exist yet. Critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, flexibility, adaptability, comfort with ambiguity, teamwork and collaboration, and multidisciplinary thinking are the desired skills in a business environment that is increasingly characterized by change. Building these skills today is how we’ll help students, communities, and our country succeed in the future.
Changes in education impacting our work:
- Across the world, global competence has begun to rapidly move from a fringe consideration in education to one of more central importance. The U.S. Department of Education rolled out the first ever International Strategy from 2012-16, and in 2018, the OECD announced they would introduce a new domain of testing in global competence on the PISA tests, the international benchmark for educational achievement. This signals the growing movement to center this approach and apply it to systemic change in education that meets the changing needs of future employment and citizenship.
- Broader shifts in K-12 education have challenged the merits of teaching to the test, with a narrow definition of achievement and singular focus on core subjects and grades. We now know that a “whole child approach” (where World Savvy’s work is grounded) is more likely to produce outcomes that help students thrive beyond the classroom.
- Schools and districts in the U.S. have increasingly looked for ways to integrate practices which center diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure learning environments meet the needs of all kids. These emerging priorities have led to increased demand for World Savvy’s programs, and have been the impetus for many of the planned areas of growth.
- Global competence in teaching and learning has great potential to promote social cohesion in communities “in transition” that are experiencing unprecedented demographic and economic change. This presents an opportunity to leverage K-12 education as an anchor in these communities, creating more inclusive, welcoming, and adaptive schools that help everyone thrive, together.
- Systems change within K-12 education requires engagement from a broad network of stakeholders surrounding the system, including community colleges, higher education, youth development infrastructure, and local philanthropy and businesses in communities. Significant change can happen when these stakeholders are empowered and have the capacity to collaborate and reflect together on how best to embed this work in the context of their own communities.
- The U.S.—and the world—has a growing population of youth invested in solving critical local and global problems, and our current K-12 educational system is ill-equipped to build this agency. Our planet needs their skills more than ever, and our educational system needs to adapt to foster students’ skills and dispositions to enact positive social change.