Final E.N. Thompson talk to examine U.S. education

· 3 min read

Final E.N. Thompson talk to examine U.S. education

Yong Zhao
Yong Zhao

The United States is by most measures a superpower, but studies, test scores and anecdotal evidence suggests Americans are lagging behind in education.

How is the United States able to compete in an increasingly globalized society if our educational systems are broken and learning is stunted? Both state and national experts and representatives have heralded reforms, including No Child Left Behind, but are these reforms working? Are schools equipped to give students the knowledge and competencies needed to thrive? Is standardization good for students?

These questions and others will be tackled by education scholar Yong Zhao during the fifth lecture of the 2013-14 E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues at UNL. His talk, sponsored by the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences, will be 7 p.m. March 18, in the Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St.

Zhao is the final presenter of the forum season, which is themed “U.S. & Them” and has included lectures examining the United States’ place in today’s globalized society. A pre-talk will be given by Ted Hamann, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher education, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lied’s Steinhart Room.

Zhao, a prolific author of more than 100 articles and 20 books, is the presidential chair and associate dean for global education in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. His most recent book, “Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization,” is the basis for his talk and explores issues central to globalized and technology-driven education.

Zhao was previously a distinguished professor at the College of Education at Michigan State University. A native of China, he has amassed accolades for his work, including the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association. He was also named one of the 10 most influential people in educational technology by Tech & Learn magazine in 2012.

This year’s forum looks at America’s role in the world and delves into a wide range of global and domestic topics including foreign relations, military reach, educational status, and the viability – and relevance – of the American Dream. All lectures are free and open to the public. Biographical information on each of the speakers is available on the forum’s website,

Sign language interpreters will be present for Zhao’s talk. It will be streamed live at and available on Lincoln digital cable Channel 80, or Channel 99 on analog cable, UNL campus Channel 8 and UNL’s KRNU radio (90.3 FM).

The Thompson Forum is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, the Lied Center and UNL. It was established in 1988 with the purpose of bringing a diversity of viewpoints on international and public policy issues to the university and the residents of the state to promote understanding and encourage debate.

Yong Zhao: No Child Left Behind and Global Competitiveness
Zhao in 2011 at the Pearson Foundation and the Mobile Learning Institute.

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