This makes me livid. My friend Suzie Nestico's students cannot come to Beijing at this point but the reasons stated are totally off base:
1) "Why can't they just watch it on a big screen?" The time zone is 12 hours difference and this is a project-based learning conference. Students will not only learn about technology but will envision and develop future projects for global collaboration as they participate with some of the best minds in the business.
2) This is just a paid vacation to China! This perhaps makes me most angry of all! If someone is going to China on vacation - you wouldn't go in February!1 We are going to a local school that is hosting us and this was the most convenient time for them and to get local participation.
3) Let's keep the money at home. Rather than this small town having students and a teacher who understand how to work in one of the most rapidly growing markets in the world (China) they are choosing to stay at home and remain oblivious to the opportunities that exist.
4) They are not going for a competition yes, they are - there is a competition. But the difference is that you are paired with three other students from three other countries. This year, we have an environmental focus as we work to design how students would benefit from collaborating globally on environmentally sensitive issues.
Yes, times are tough. Yes, it seems to only benefit a few. However, as we push towards globalization one step at a time we have to get out of our comfort zone for the future of our small towns and communities.
I could go on and it saddens me that these were just looking for a reason to say no. Of course, in a democracy they have a right to do this and it is ok. This is not a permanent setback, I just wish they had made this decision before they told her to go ahead and raise the money. This sort of vacillation can snuff out teacher motivation to try things that are new. Passports had already been stamped.