November 16, 1994

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Vol. 14, Issue 11
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A study I conducted this year reaches the dismal conclusion that most Americans know little and care less about foreign languages or cultures. Superpower and world cultural arbiter, America remains relentlessly provincial. Because English has become the lingua franca of the modern world--the language of commerce, banking, technology, science, art, and aviation--we have convinced ourselves that our ignorance of other peoples and cultures is not a serious disadvantage. Because English is so widely dispersed, we can "get along" most anywhere.
A thumbnail sketch of the current status of education reform in many states would indicate that positive forces for reform exist at the top of the system--the state-policy level--and at the bottom, in schools that are restructuring, either separately or through networks of like-minded schools. Many of the people in the "middle"--district administrators, school boards, union leaders, for instance--are struggling to preserve their customary control over events as more of it slips away yearly to the state above them, site-based decisionmaking teams below them, and networks all around them.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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