A New Paradigm for Global School Systems

Education for a Long and Happy Life

By Joel Spring

© 2007 – Routledge

232 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780805861242
pub: 2007-02-22
US Dollars$46.95
Hardback: 9780805861235
pub: 2007-02-22
US Dollars$140.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

This volume—a major new contribution to Joel Spring’s reportage and analysis of the intersection of global forces and education—offers a new paradigm for global school systems. Education for global economic competition is the prevailing goal of most national school systems. Spring argues that recent international studies by economists, social psychologists, and others on the social factors that support subjective well-being and longevity should serve as a call to arms to change education policy; the current industrial-consumer paradigm is not supportive of either happiness or long life.

Building his argument through an original documentation, synthesis, and critique of prevailing global economic goals for schools and research on social conditions that support happiness and long life, Spring:

*develops guidelines for a global core curriculum, methods of instruction, and school organizations;

*translates these guidelines into a new paradigm for global school systems based on progressive, human rights, and environmental educational traditions;

*contrasts differing ways of seeing and knowing among indigenous, Western, and Confucian-based societies, concluding that global teaching and learning involve a particular form of holistic knowing and seeing; and

*proposes a prototype for a global school—an eco-school that functions to protect the biosphere and human rights and to support the happiness and well-being of the school staff, students, and immediate community—and for a global core curriculum based on holistic models for lessons and instruction.

The book concludes with Spring’s retelling of Plato’s parable of the cave—in which educators break the chains that bind them to the industrial-consumer paradigm and rethink their commitment to humanity’s welfare.


“A terrific book – both soundly researched and highly original. It should be widely used in courses on curriculum, social studies, policy studies, peace studies, philosophy of education, and many other sub-disciplines.”

Stanford University (Emerita)

“I like the balance in Spring’s work between trenchant analysis of existing social, political, and cultural conditions in education, and creative, positive recommendations for ameliorating those conditions through education. He well understands the ideological and political underpinnings of educational practice, but has not given up hope for forms of practice that are more equitable, just, and fair…. The primary value of this book will be in provoking an international debate on the very possibility of a globalized curriculum and what might be involved in it. I believe this is the leading edge question in curriculum today, and across the humanities and social sciences generally.”

University of Alberta

“[Spring’s] proposal for a global school system based on the goal of maximizing happiness and longevity along with customization at the local level is, undoubtedly, one of the most original theses I have come across in the field of education.”

Center for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, Singapore

Table of Contents

Contents: Goals for a Global School System. Basic Educational Principles for a Long Life and Happiness. A New Paradigm for a Global Curriculum. Ways of Seeing and a Global Core Curriculum. A Prototype for a Global School: Humanity Flag Certification. Humanity: A Prototype Textbook for a Global Core Curriculum. Conclusion: Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance.

About the Series

Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies in Education

This series focuses on studies of public and private institutions, the media, and academic disciplines that contribute to educating--in the broadest sense--students and the general public. The series welcomes volumes with multicultural perspectives, diverse interpretations, and a range of political points of view from conservative to critical. Books accepted for publication in this series will be written for an academic audience and, in some cases, also for use as supplementary readings in graduate and undergraduate courses.

Topics to be addressed in this series include, but are not limited to, sociocultural, political, and historical studies of

Local, state, national, and international educational systems

Elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities

Public institutions of education such as museums, libraries, and foundations

Computer systems and software as instruments of public education

The popular media as forms of public education

Content areas within the academic study of education, such as curriculum and instruction, psychology, and educational technology

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Aims & Objectives
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects