News Detail

News

Webb as a Global Enterprise

Taylor Stockdale
Recently I attended a fascinating lecture by Dr. Yong Zhao, Associate Dean for Global Education at the University of Oregon. For those who are not familiar with his work and research, Dr. Zhao is one of a growing number of scholars who challenge the notion that the United States educational system is woefully inadequate when compared to the hard charging, intensely rote schooling systems found in China, India, Korea and other emerging nations. Dr. Zhao’s most recent book Catching Up or Leading the Way is a fascinating account of the past 50 years in America, beginning with the Sputnik incident which convinced us all that our educational system, especially in math and science, was lagging way behind the Soviet Union. Indeed, if you look back in publications (or do a Google Image search), you will see a 1958 Life Magazine cover showing a Russian student and an American student side by side with the headline “Crisis in Education.”

Dr. Zhao traces this theme of our supposed failing educational approach from Sputnik to current day. In the early 1960s, the United States placed second to dead last on an international math competition among industrialized nations. In the 1980s, A Nation At Risk was published which declared that “our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry science and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.” In 1995, the United States scored a resounding Average among other industrialized nations on a TIMSS Grade 8 Mathematics Test. And today, we’ve been swamped with more of the same. 2 Million Minutes was an interesting documentary covering students from the United States, China, and India during their respective 2 million minutes of high school, demonstrating how many more courses the Chinese and Indian students take throughout the entire day and into the evening while the American student enjoyed more creative extracurricular outlets such as athletics and student leadership. 50 years of failing schools. 50 years of headlines, 50 years of other nations forcing their kids to do more math, more science, more memorization of facts, etc.

So here’s Dr. Zhao’s question – one which I believe is worth considering. If our nation has been working in such a flawed manner for half a century, if we have been so misguided in our approach to K-12 curricula by not forcing our students to take more, more, more - then why do we continue to have the world’s most sought after and wealthiest colleges and research universities? And why does the United States continue to generate the most business ideas and have the most patents filed per year (by far) than any other nation in the world? The United States has the most robust and prosperous economy ever, and our economy continues to grow at the same rate as these other rapidly growing economies (as a reference point, the U.S. GDP grew from about $3 trillion to $15 trillion from 1980 to 2010. China’s economy has grown from very little GDP to just over $9 trillion in the same time period).

Dr. Zhao’s research digs much further into what really matters in education – beyond standardized test scores and ever accelerated course offerings. The most current research in linking learning to actual workplace productivity and leadership suggests that what matters most is an educational environment that on the one hand, provides a rigorous and challenging academic experience, and on the other, offers students the chance to own their experiences (as academic entrepreneurs), to have hands-on learning opportunities, and to be immersed in projects that are truly relevant, and require creativity, innovation, critical thinking skills, and an ability to communicate well, both traditionally and technologically.

In 2002, China attempted to reform its educational system in terms of developing more electives, integrated studies, and reducing the excessive coursework burden on students in favor of social integration and creativity. Japan made the same attempts in developing a more well-rounded education with its Education Plan for the 21st Century. Singapore launched its Nurturing Every Child: Flexibility and Diversity in its schools in 2005. And in 2000, Korea applied the Revised 7th National Curriculum with an ultimate goal of “cultivating creative, autonomous and self-driven human resources who will lead the era’s development in information, knowledge and globalization.”

When I think of Webb, I think of not only our current students, but also our graduates – students who have gone on in disproportionate numbers to do truly creative work in industry. Our school, in a sense, is way ahead of its time. It is a true global village which fosters this critical balance of a strong academic program with these other essential experiences and skill sets.

Look at the Alf Museum and the Summer Peccary Trips run by Dr. Lofgren and Dr. Farke. Webb students have the opportunity to conduct paleontological exploration and actual field work for four weeks during their summer break. These experiences are given context when students are encouraged to do original research, and just this past year five Webbies travelled to Philadelphia and presented their research at an international conference.

We also offer robust service learning opportunities for students. Students can volunteer their afternoon activity period and help tutor elementary school children, work at a local animal rescue shelter, or even go on an international service trip. Just this past weekend, the Vanguard Club teamed up with students volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and played music and raised money during the weekly farmer’s market in Claremont Village.

At the conclusion of the lecture, I exchanged cards with Dr. Zhao, and later I followed up with him. After I described our community, he said “wow, this sounds like a place I need to visit, it sounds like you have not just a school, but a global enterprise.” I couldn’t agree more and look forward to hearing from you about how we can do even more to become not just a great school, but a global enterprise for our future world leaders. Please leave me a comment in the section below and I’ll be sure to respond.
Back

Read More News

Alumni News

List of 4 news stories.

  • John Scalzi: The Consuming Fire Tour

    Michael Simonelli
    An opportunity to pick the brain of award-winning author John Scalzi, is not one you want to miss. Discussing topics ranging from what exactly defines a burrito to what projects he currently has in production, there's never a dull moment with Scalzi.
    Read More
  • Webb Athletics Online

    For Webb sports fans who can’t attend a game, or if you’d like to follow along with the live stats and scores from our athletic contests, most of our home games will be covered live with video and play-by-play at The NFHS Network. 
    Read More
  • 2018 Alumni Award Recipients

    There is no greater testament to The Webb Schools' values, culture of service and leadership than our extraordinary alumni. Through our annual Alumni Awards program, the Alumni Council and the Board of Trustees honor alumni whose service and achievements truly exemplify the qualities and values that Webb represents. We are pleased to announce the five distinguished recipients of Webb's 2018 Alumni Awards.
    Read More
  • Stanford University Takes Stand Against Low Admit-Rate Frenzy

    Yesterday Stanford University announced it would no long publicize its admit-rate percentages in an effort to discourage the growing national obsession over which colleges and universities have the lowest admit-rates in America.

    Stanford’s provost wrote, “When Stanford publicizes its admission numbers during the enrollment cycle, the main result we observe is stories that aim to identify which universities experience the most demand and have the lowest admit rates.”
    Read More
Archive

Webb News

List of 4 news stories.

  • Focus on Faculty: Howie Kalter

    Howie Kalter says the thing he most loves about his job at Webb is that teachers are coaches as well as classroom instructors. You’re just as likely to find him poolside where he’s the assistant coach of the WSC water polo team as you will in the classroom leading sections of Integrated Math I and II.
    Read More
  • The Week @ Webb - Sept. 17-24, 2018

    Scott Nichols
    The Week @ Webb is a unique look into the activities both on and off Webb's campus. This gallery features our work in the classroom and around campus in collaborative learning groups. Come take a look at some of the in-depth and hands-on work our students are working on.
    Read More
  • 2018 Alumni Award Recipients

    There is no greater testament to The Webb Schools' values, culture of service and leadership than our extraordinary alumni. Through our annual Alumni Awards program, the Alumni Council and the Board of Trustees honor alumni whose service and achievements truly exemplify the qualities and values that Webb represents. We are pleased to announce the five distinguished recipients of Webb's 2018 Alumni Awards.
    Read More
  • Parents Weekend!

    We have a full weekend planned for you, so please make sure we know you’re joining us. You can register for all events on the Parents home page on the website. Join us early for the Thursday, Oct. 4 Parent Reception at Elvira’s, visit classes and meet advisors, enjoy the Affiliates Benefit on Friday evening, and more. Register now!
    Read More
Archive

Sports Blog

List of 4 news stories.

Archive
The Webb Schools Boarding Preparatory School California Private School Financial Aid Paleontology College Placement Top Academics Faculty Ph.D Community Fun