FROM THE EDITOR

Kristen M. Snyder
Mid Sweden University
Chief Editor

We are excited to produce our second electronic version of Wingspan. Since our initial publication last year, much has happened for the development of Wingspan as well as education world-wide. Global efforts continue to connect schools and educators internationally in social learning networks, as well as to wake-up the curriculum and educational policy to support a broader purpose of schooling in societal development. Research in the area of school and leadership development is now expanding its focus to recognize the greater complexity of leading schools in a global age. Among the issues addressed is an understanding that education is not solely a product of governmental programming; the role of schools in society is much greater, and thus the job of educational leaders more complex.

Meeting this complexity requires shifts in our understanding about not only how to organize school structures and resources, but also how to stimulate a dialogue among faculty, students, parents, and community members that address questions concerning the social development of youth and society. This task is growing in scope as well as importance as our local communities are witnessing greater social upheaval, global economics are bringing about changes to local business structures and opportunities, and the need for a world-wide collective response to human crisis continues to deepen. At the same time, global connections are opening a dialogue across cultures to learn from and with one another about how to foster a kind of education that supports human, social and environmental development that is caring and sustainable.

In this issue of Wingspan we have a number of contributions that contribute to the global dialogue on education. Three main themes are presented: Leadership, Global School Development, and Philosophical perspectives on learning and social development from Eastern and Western perspectives. Three articles are presented that address issues of leadership. Victor Pinedo, an organizational consultant, provides insights into strategic planning that challenge us to move beyond the standard goal oriented-problem solving use of planning. Touchton and Acker-Hocevar provide insights into how schools plagued by issues of social and economic discrimination can use dialogue and community collaboration to bring about changes in the life of a school and community. Hedlin and Ohlsson present initial plans for a development effort to engage school leaders in communication and decision making process to facilitate collaborative learning and school development. Together, these articles bring insights into the ways in which leadership is changing in Schools.

Part of the dialogue on education includes an examination of our philosophical and pedagogical orientations to learning and social development. In this issue three articles are provided that address education in China and explore implications of Eastern and Western thought for the future of Education. Sang provides a brief look at how communication and instructional technologies can facilitate a new kind of open and creative learning across cultures that facilitates mankind. Gu, presents findings from a study of early childhood education in China that resulted from societal and political reforms since the revolution. And Cheng explores philosophical insights and comparisons between Dewey and Confucius arguing for the bridging of the two perspectives in order to develop education for morality in a global age. It is our hope that these articles begin to open a long-term exploration and dialogue about eastern and western perspectives that can inform school development in the future.

Turning to global school development, Snyder and Sullivan describe the development of a set of global benchmarks that have emerged through the work of the International School Connection, Inc. during the past three years. The two articles compliment one another, with Sullivan's focusing on the story of development around the global benchmarks, while Snyder provides information about the scientific development of the benchmarks, and gives examples of what they look like in schools today around the world.

This issue of Wingspan is rounded off by an article from Karlsson on PISA, which addresses how findings from the international comparison study can be used to facilitate school development and policy making at the national and local level. Finally, words from our Editor emeritus, Bob Anderson remind us of the importance of alternative pedagogy, including multi-age classrooms, and the need to continue seeking change in our school systems to prepare youth for a contemporary global society.

In addition to the scholarly contributions, Wingspan has expanded its international Editorial and Advisory Board. New members include scholars from universities in Sweden, Israel, China, the USA, and Canada. Their contributions are important to the development of Wingspan as well as to expanding the perspectives engaged in the global dialogue on education and leadership development.