Should we be worrying about preparing students to compete with other nations or thinking about we can ready students to collaborate internationally to solve some of the world’s most complex problems?

Here’s an excerpt from a speech Secretary Duncan gave a few years ago addressing that question:

In a nutshell, my message is that policymakers and voters have treated international competitiveness for too long as a zero-sum game. The success of other nations at increasing educational attainment and economic competitiveness has been assumed to be America’s loss.

The belief that another country’s gain in economic competitiveness is America’s loss is a remnant of the Cold War mentality and a protectionist ethic. It stems from a worldview in which prosperity depends on a state’s ability to preserve a finite amount of goods and human capital.

I want to suggest to you today that enhancing educational achievement and economic viability overseas and at home is really more of a win-win game; it is an opportunity to grow the economic pie, instead of carve it up.

…America cannot wait to transform education. We have been too complacent and too passive. We have perpetuated poverty and social failure for far too long. The need is urgent. And the time for change is now.