The Legislature finds that there has been a significant decline in knowledge and skills related to international affairs and other cultures. This has serious consequences, in view of the growing interrelation of nations and people, and the increasing impact that international factors have on our society in political economic, and cultural terms. Many occupations require a knowledge of the histories, languages, and traditions of other cultures and the ability to analyze and interpret complex international issues. Our society requires citizens who understand the role of our state and our nation in a rapidly changing world.
The Legislature further finds that many factors contribute to this decline, but that a primary cause is the lack of adequate preparation of teachers in international studies. Few teachers have ever taken an international studies course, and teachers already in the classroom have few opportunities to improve their competence in this field. Although some colleges and universities are now requiring more courses in international studies and foreign languages, this will not fully address the problem since current teachers will provide the bulk of instruction for many years to come. Therefore, the Legislature recognizes the need to assist current teachers to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to increase the international studies competence of their students. The Legislature further finds that this competence problem is shared by all segments and levels of California education, and that it can best be addressed by cooperatively planned and funded efforts.
An international studies project should therefore be created, to be modeled after the Bay Area Global Education Project, a publicly and privately funded curriculum and staff development project that has earned national acclaim since 1979.
(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 1173, Sec. 1.)