We have learned so much during our visit to Dublin and Belfast. When it comes to moving education systems forward to meet the needs of all of today’s learners we share many of the challenges that our colleagues in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland encounter. We saw many pockets of success in this critical arena as well. What we share with our Irish colleagues is the realization that we all still have much to do to assure that all our students experience learning in school that is relevant to the lives our students lead today and for where they are headed in their futures.
In order for this type of change to become a reality – regardless of the location – visionary leadership, followed by action, is key. One of the great privileges of this journey was the opportunity to meet with so many leaders who are passionate about transforming learning and teaching to meet the needs of today’s students. We come away with great hope for the education systems in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and admiration for the visionary leadership of so many in both parliaments and education ministries as well as organizations like Excited (http://excited.ie/) and C2K (http://www.c2kni.org.uk/). Special admiration and heartfelt thanks goes to the principals, teachers and students we met who are showing the world why this cause is so important. These are the people who meet this challenge every day and go forth with heroic determination and persistence.