The Iowa Council for Social Studies honored the Stanley Foundation for their work to promote social studies. The Friend of Education Award from the council is designed to recognize organizations or individuals who advocate and provide resources for social studies in the State of Iowa.
Keith Porter, the president of the foundation, said their investment in social studies education locally is connected to the Stanley Foundations guiding principle.
“Our organizing principle for over 60 years has been that problems facing the world are too big for countries to fix on their own,” Porter said. “You have to have countries working together to solve problems. And we want to model these values in our local community. We want to promote global citizenship. Our work in Muscatine is really about promoting that value in the local area.”
According to Jill Goldesberry, programming officer for community partnerships at Stanley Foundation, these efforts are as local and statewide as they are global.
“Global Citizenship is thinking globally and acting locally,” Goldesberry said. “Realizing that you are part of more than just your state or country but in your whole world too.”
In Muscatine, Goldesberry said the foundation does a lot of work with local teachers.
“In Muscatine we do a great deal of things with the teachers here, just providing resources to them,” she said. “We’ve kind of done this statewide, in a way, by providing workshops to teachers on global education.”
Goldesberry said that Stanley Foundation’s award was likely an outcome of the work they’ve done to aid the council.
“The reason they gave it to us, I think, is because we’ve helped provide speakers for several of their conferences,” Goldesberry said. “We’ve held receptions sometimes for them when they have been promoting certain activities. We’ve helped with various things that the council has done.”
During the summer, Stanley Foundation offers a two-week day camp for students in seventh and eighth grades.
“We try to make connections between Muscatine and the rest of the world to show them that Muscatine is not the center of the universe,” Goldesberry said. “It’s their whole world right now, but they are going to be going into a much larger space.”
The camp teaches students about other countries and brings in speakers to talk about their experience internationally.
For high school students, the foundation sponsors the Model United Nations. Goldesberry said that this activity teaches students to see the viewpoints of other countries and how hard it is to negotiate over global issues.
For young children, Goldesberry said the foundation focuses on teaching the connections present among systems.
“Something doesn’t’ happen on its own,” Goldesberry said. “Understanding interconnectedness is a big part of global citizenship. As they get older they learn about those political connections, economic connections.”
Going forward, some new core standards in the state might provide more chances for the Stanley Foundation to encourage global citizenship in Iowa’s schools. In the summer of 2018, the Stanley Foundation will be helping the Iowa Council of Social Studies to put on a workshop for social studies teachers. New standards for social studies in Iowa are requiring seventh graders be taught global studies. The workshop will be aimed at approaches for implementing these global studies classes.
Though Goldesberry agreed that there is an apparent political script against globalization, she is undaunted.
“It sometimes seems like we are heading to a more nationalistic culture, but I don’t really think that‘s true. I think that younger people — millennials if you want to call them that, but even younger than that — realize that we are all on this planet together,” Goldesberry said. “All these global problems cannot be solved by one country.”