My amazing opportunity to visit Qingdao this past weekend ended with a scenic tour of Qingdao’s most famous monuments and architectural structures. The May 4th square pictured below, represents a political movement in China’s history. A political movement, ignited by mass student demonstrations ultimately led to influencing the Chinese government’s decision not to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. This refusal brought both China and Germany to the table ultimately allowing both countries to later sign on agreed upon terms.
After learning the history of this port town, as an education entrepreneur, I am forced to then think about how we as educators are preparing and developing American students that are prepared to lead, change and impact our American Democracy. Are we developing not only students that are able to think critically, but students that are able to analyze and galvanize themselves to change our world? Are we giving students the space to develop into free thinking citizens in preparation to participate in civil disobedience?
Based on our recent PISA data, our American students are scoring far below Asian American students in cross-curricular assessments that test their ability to think critically. Hence, as educators we are tasked with the mantel of creating critical thinkers that can not only compete globally on the PISA exam with Korea, Chinese and Japanese students. But moreover, if our students are able to compete on these assessments we can rest assured that they will safely lead our country in times of political unrest similar to the Chinese students in the May 4th movement.