My Wonderful World is delighted to be joined today by Jan Harp Domene, President of coalition partner the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Jan identifies the current election season as an opportunity to make the case for expanding geographic education offerings nationwide, and highlights the PTA's efforts to get students involved in learning about civics and geopolitical issues.
In light of last Friday’s presidential debate on foreign policy and the impending global economic crisis, I can’t think of a better time to be talking about the world and the role we play in it. And by “we,” I mean everybody—not just the people who want to be President next January. I tell the young parents who join PTA that they are the future leaders of our organization, but it’s also true that kids are the future leaders of our country. They might grow up to be the President, or they might be the head of their own company, or they might be a leader in their own community. Whatever path they take, kids today will almost certainly be more connected to the world outside our borders than the generation that preceded them.
So how are we preparing our kids for this world that seems
to be getting smaller and smaller? In
addition to the basics like math, science, and reading, are we also teaching
them about civics and art and geography and language? Understanding other cultures, and even our
This fall PTA has been working with the National Student Parent Mock Election to get kids thinking not just about our elected officials, but about issues like what our trade policies should be in reaction to globalization and how the energy crisis affects our relationships with other nations. Some of the biggest issues during this campaign season haven’t been political issues so much as geopolitical issues: How should the U.S. respond to the tension between Russia and Georgia? How much influence does Iran have on the rebuilding of Iraq? These questions are indicative of the world we’re leaving our children, so we better get them ready for it.
As the PTA national president, I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled all over the globe meeting parents and children and teachers. It’s been an amazing journey, and one that’s convinced me more than ever that we should be teaching our students everything we can about their wonderful world. Next time you’re on Facebook, come look me up to see all the places I’ve been. And then let’s talk about all the places we’ll go.
Jan Harp Domene, PTA National President