I enjoyed thinking about these ideas and also felt that we are lucky to be based in Cambridge, where "cosmopolitanism" is not seen as negative; however, when I read the newspapers (yes, I still do that, dinosaur that I am), Reimers' admonition regarding the cultural conflicts that global initiatives might face acknowledges a major obstacle.
ln the last twenty years, the trend in educational governance has been
toward decentralization to communities and schools, for the purpose of
increasing the efficiency and local relevance of what is taught. It is not clear
how the localization of education might impact the development of global
civility. Some of the most traditional cultural conflicts Find expression at the
local level, where Communities have clear incentives to preserve the values
and memories that are a: the root of many ethnic, cultural, and religious con-
flicts. l see no reason to expect cosmopolitanism from local communities.
In some ways it seems easier to bridge international differences than it might be to get, say, much of Texas on board. Over vacation, when I butted heads with my very conservative brother about education (and English curricula, specifically), I felt that what drives his perspective is a fear of something being lost without a clear sense of what is being gained. Perhaps I will send him these articles!
I have enjoyed reading the articles and my colleagues' comments and found myself thinking, as Ethan notes, how important what we do is. It is helpful to think more broadly about the ramifications of how all the parts work together in these last few leisurely days of summer before I grow consumed with the stack of papers, the piles of quizzes, etc. that move the larger perspective to the back burner.
I came away from the readings feeling both lucky to be where I am and energized by thinking about these ideas.