Massachusetts is the recipient of the Goldman Sachs Foundation Prize for Excellence in International Education in 2006 for its distinguished recent track record and current leadership to promote international knowledge and skills in the state. Since its inception three and one-half years ago, the Massachusetts Initiative for International Studies (MIIS), a coalition of leaders in business, policy, and education, has championed a statewide initiative to bring a global perspective into Massachusetts schools. Their first major undertaking was to convene a conference, “Massachusetts: Education for a Global Economy”, which was attended by over 300 leaders in education, business, and public affairs. Attendees examined the case for international studies within the broader context of national priorities and Massachusetts’ education reform. Ongoing statewide conferences, regional meetings, and the preparation of a report entitled Global Education: Massachusetts’ Next Challenge have helped propel interest in global education.
Recently, legislation focusing on the importance of international knowledge and skills was passed by the Massachusetts legislature to provide direction and incentives to school districts and educators. A State Global Education Advisory Council was also formed with support from the State Department of Education and Commissioner of Education David Driscoll to bring international education more effectively into the curriculum in Massachusetts. The Council advises the Board of Education on matters relating to the instruction, curriculum, and assessment of global studies in the K-12 public schools. Newly elected Governor Deval Patrick has signaled support for the work of the Global Education Advisory Council, and new initiatives are being planned to integrate global education into a statewide pre-K to 12 reform plan.
A fourth conference held in April 2007 shifted the focus to teachers and to infusing state education standards with global content. MIIS has also offered professional development courses and summer institutes for teachers in the state. In collaboration with AIG Worldsource, an annual awards program was established to recognize school districts and teachers for progress in developing an international focus in schools. Overall, MIIS has engaged both bottom-up and top down policy leadership to create real momentum for international education in the state.