A mission statement is defined as a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. ASL’s mission statement is to “develop the intellect and character of each student by providing an outstanding American education with a global perspective.” Every word in a mission statement must earn its place: The “global perspective” described promises an international viewpoint, yet, is severely lacking both in practice and in theory within our community.
When thinking about opportunities or instances in which I felt exposed to such an environment, I was surprisingly disappointed with the outcome; in fact, I was able to come up with more ways ASL didn’t offer a global perspective than ways it did.
As a prerequisite for graduation, every student must take United States History this course is typically taken by juniors. This year, over 45 students chose to take on the challenging course load of AP United States History, most juniors and a senior took regular US history. This, in no way, is where the issue lies; in fact, this accomplishes the American education component of the mission statement.
The unsettling news, though, is that this trend wasn’t matched when addressing global history: Only one student took AP World History, a subject that is not offered as a part of the curriculum, but instead as an independent study. The school should offer AP World History as a class, making it more accessible to a larger amount of students. Global students aren’t produced without compulsory exposure to global history; so why is there no effort being made at remediating this issue?
Global history isn’t the only thing lacking in our social education: Current events are something of a rarity in class discussions. The Social Studies curriculum encompasses every fact from Ancient Mesopotamia to Obama’s 2008 election; the last six years of global history and significant change, though, are weakly represented – seemingly taken as secondary, even though they might possibly be more important for students to be aware of. I am in complete agreement that it is fundamental for one to thoroughly be aware of the world’s history, however what has happened around the world in the last few years is imperative for one to understand as it directly affects what is happening around them.
Apart from my participation in the Model United Nations program, the last few weeks of my sophomore year, in my World Civilizations II class, have been the only time in which I was given the opportunity to partake in discussions about current global affairs. It was a time in which other students and myself were able to discuss pressing and emerging global affairs; a chance to open our minds and be exposed to information that is crucial for us to be conscious of. From the effects of the one-child policy in China, to the recent kidnapping of young females in Nigeria, this information is necessary in order for a person to be nationally and internationally aware, as we are currently living in an increasingly global world. However, a few weeks in tenth grade is practically nothing compared to four years of high school, each marked with overt global unawareness.
The solution is as evident as the fault: The Social Studies department should make a more proactive effort to incorporate current event news in their lessons. Not only would students be able to draw insightful parallels between pasts and presents, but also the next time my father asks me where I thought the MH370 flight is, I wouldn’t have to awkwardly ask to go to the bathroom. To dedicate one class to current events every now and then would barely delay the curriculum all the while providing hugely important information to the classes; say every Wednesday that World Civilizations classes convene.
Another way to tackle our lack of globalism at school is by greater student participation and involvement in clubs and extra-scholar organisations. Although the presence of student-led clubs like the Middle-East club and the South Asia Club is pervasive throughout the High School, those clubs are led by small minorities of students. The Middle East night – driven by mostly Middle Eastern students – continuously attempts to educate the student-body about the actions taking place in the region such as putting in place an Israeli-Palestinian debate. However, if it weren’t for clubs who create annual events portraying traditions and various cultural aspects, there would be barely any international presence within the High School community. This is why I encourage students to participate in active clubs – whether it be Right to Play or the South Asia Club – to bring a global perspective to this school; one that I believe is still sorely lacking.
It is imperative for us to make sure that no one in our community graduates from ASL having been promised an education with a global perspective without having received it. In order to develop and further immerse ourselves into the international community, whether it be remaining aware of current events or having a more racially and culturally diverse community, we must work together and find solutions for this complication. It is crucial for current events to be integrated within the curriculum to eradicate all casual ignorance that can often be seen within our community. Consequently, if we do not attempt to immerse ourselves in foreign affairs and global interest, then we are not prepared to face our future, wherever it may be.