The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 16, 2012

Expanding global learning


DANVILLE — The global marketplace continues to shrink by the minute. Forty years ago, relaying a message to the other side of the planet took some effort. Today, it takes a click of a button.

That kind communication has enabled people of all lands access to information — and stirred more than a few toward trying to gain freedom for themselves and their nation.

It also has made the world a much more mobile place, with borders shrinking as barriers. That’s evidenced by the wide variety of languages spoken within Danville schools. District 118 offers assistance for those who speak 14 different languages Those languages include Albanian, Arabic, Cantonese, French, Gujarati, Hmong, Italian, Mandarin, Nepali, Spanish, Tagalog, Telugu, Urdu and Vietnamese.

This is not your grandpa’s global marketplace.

Tomorrow’s national leaders will need to know and understand a huge variety of cultures in order for the United States to continue to thrive. Those who believe our nation can close its borders tight and hide behind them want to take American back to another day. The policy didn’t work then and it certainly won’t work today.

Thomas L. Firiedman, a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for The New York Times, wrote “The World is Flat” a few years ago. Outling the world’s emerging economic powers such as India and China, and providing ideas on how the United States can keep up.

Making sure students understand these other cultures — such as the efforts in Danville High School’s Global House and in its language programs — will help today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.

The world will change whether we like it or not. It’s up to us whether our nation keeps up or falls behind.