Leaders Address Inequity Through a Framework of International-Mindedness

  • Carol Van Vooren
  • Delores B Lindsey


This paper offers school leaders and scholar practitioners twin frameworks of international-mindedness and cultural proficiency as a means to addressing persistent education gaps. International-mindedness is a global perspective framework and cultural proficiency is an equity-focused framework. These complementary frameworks are grounded in the educational policies and practices found in the International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. In an era focused on closing achievement gaps, students from diverse backgrounds have opportunities to engage in topics and dispositions in IB that connect to their prior knowledge and experiences through a new lens and global perspective. Once viewed as an elitist high school program, the IB is now offered in an increasing number of public schools as a school wide initiative to support the needs of all students, including language learners and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Teachers and school leaders in IB schools teach human similarities and differences through a local and global perspective to better prepare and engage all students in the knowledge and skills they will need in the changing world of the 21st century. To realize this expanded goal of access and achievement for all students, school leaders and educators must also understand the complementary conceptual frameworks of cultural proficiency and international-mindedness. The authors recommend that by aligning the frameworks of international-mindedness and cultural proficiency, students of all demographic groups and their teachers become aware of a wider world, respect and value diversity, understand how the world works, participate both locally and globally, and may be motivated to take action as engaged citizens.