SCHOOLS

Blending cultures and mastering the new technologies

2012-02-14T00:00:00Z Blending cultures and mastering the new technologiesJohn J. Pedicone Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Arizona will be a remarkable example of the successful blending of diverse cultures - including the strength of our state's Hispanic heritage - with the innovation and insights that result from the infusion of ideas born from growth, development and education. Arizona will be characterized as a uniquely grounded community that celebrates its history while inviting people to contribute to a developing culture of opportunity.

Arizona will reap the benefits of 50 years of synergy that results from the power of a collaborative approach to growing business, education and culture. State government will view education as an asset, and the Legislature will support education as a critical component of economic development and quality of life.

The PreK-12 educational system will have experienced significant change. Information exchange between and among universities, industries and social networks across the world will positively impact educational opportunities.

Students will operate in a high-technology environment. The classroom will have escaped from the paradigm of the traditional schoolhouse and the walls that enclose it. Students' interests and goals will form instructional practice, including a very natural information exchange within the domains of new technologies that will have emerged. To some extent, learning will be focused on those new technologies. They will drive focused educational ventures and enable students and parents to select the best direction to meet their goals. A truly seamless PreK-20 environment will result in a community of learners created by a high level of commitment resulting in students embracing the futures that they deserve. Independence from conventional structures will have long been the standard.

Arizona will have grown to more than nine million people. We will be the model for other communities, especially in terms of how we handled rapid growth while maintaining our sense of place. One of the more remarkable features of the community will be the light-rail system that supports the newly designed bullet train between Tucson and Phoenix. For the first time, there will have been more meetings between business and education leaders from Tucson and Phoenix held in Tucson over the course of the year. When that occurs, we will know our planet has indeed evolved.

John J. Pedicone is superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District.

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