This article points to international education in elementary and post-elementary schools as an emerging and promising field of enquiry. It describes the state of art of this new field and sets out the nature of the research. The rapid development of international networks in recent decades; the contribution of international education policies to the expansion of international education; the growing number of international students and its implications for school life; and the different meanings of international curriculum are the main topics in this literature. Issues of globalisation, social stratification, multiculturalism, identity formation, and the link between education and the nation state are closely related to international education. Scholars adapt classical theoretical frames and advance new concepts and methodologies in order to clarify this new phenomenon and highlight the deeper meanings of the expansion of international education. For this reason the study of international education has the potential of enhancing our sociological understanding concerning new developments in education in particular and in society in general.
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Governmental support to an international programme is a key factor to explain its success. The large expansion of the IB in the USA in the last two decades results in large part because the US Department of Education provides financial support for it. As part of the policy of No Child Left Behind in 2001, schools serving high numbers of low-income students have been encouraged by the federal government to implement the IB in order to subvert their poor academic results. To this purpose, in February 2006, the then President Bush announced the American Competitiveness Initiative and committed $5.9 billion in fiscal year 2007 alone to strengthen education. The America Competes Act 2007 authorised the expansion of low income students’ access to AP/IB coursework in high-need schools (Bunnell 2009).
- international education
- international networks
- international students