Report: Ameson’s Nanjing Forum on Educational Reform

The Nanjing Forum on the Reform and Development of Sino-American Secondary Education (co-organized by the Ameson Foundation and the Nanjing Bureau of Education) was held at the International Conference Hotel in Nanjing on March 26, 2009. The forum was led by Mr. Zhou WenHai (the Vice Director of Nanjing Bureau of Education) and opened with a speech by Ameson’s Deputy Chairman Professor Sean Zhang.

Among the Chinese education specialists in attendance were Mr. Xu ZongZi (the Vice Chairman of Jiangsu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Vice Mayor of Nanjing Municipality) and Mr. Xu ChuanDe (the Director of the Nanjing Bureau of Education).

Foreign participants who gave presentations included: Prof. Robert B.Schwartz, Professor of Practice and Academic Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education; Dr. Steve Seleznow, Education Program Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Allan Alson, Associate Director, Leadership Development for the Consortium for Educational Change; Dr. Evan Glazer, Principal, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Forum objectives

Over the past 25 years, US policymakers have come to understand the vital importance of education to their nation's economic future, and have thus developed a more nationally-oriented education strategy that has created a new set of expectations for high schools.

Traditionally, American high schools have sorted and selected students into two broad groups: those who pursue higher education, and those who enter directly into the working world. During the Nanjing forum, it was stated by several US speakers that contemporary American high schools need to instead prepare all students for some form of post-secondary education or training.

This change in mission has created many new challenges. The presentations during the conference thus focused on some of the creative ways that leading American high schools have responded to the challenge of preparing all their students to be full participants in an increasingly competitive global economy.
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