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Global DC Overview

A major focus of CGEL’s work is to promote and support the implementation of systemic global education initiatives and reform efforts in the District of Columbia.  It is not enough to expand the number and scope of classroom enrichment and out-of-school experiences for DC students available from OUTSIDE the system.  We also need to work from INSIDE to build a “global” system, which recognizes the necessity of equipping all students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences that will prepare them for the globally interconnected world in which they will live and work.  

Moving towards a Systemic Approach

Students and teachers in DC Public Schools have always had access to extraordinary global education opportunities.  They have benefited from the many federal government agencies, embassies, the World Bank, think tanks, globally focused nonprofit organizations, the Smithsonian, cultural institutions, and world class universities just a subway stop or bus ride away.  How many cities can boast school visits from kings and queens?  A 40-year old Embassy Adoption Program that matches sixth grade classes with foreign embassies?  Model UN conferences at the US State Department presided over by the Secretary of State?  Or international videoconferences with the Secretary of Education?

But as wonderful as these programs are, the potential they represent is even greater.  Currently, global learning in DCPS, including language learning, tends to be episodic, haphazard, discontinuous, and inequitably available -- dependent on the interest and commitment of individual teachers and principals, and the availability of resources from outside the system.  Students inspired by participation in a global program one year may have no way to pursue their interests the next.  Some schools may be rich in global education programming, while others across town have little to offer.  In a school system with so many challenges, global education has traditionally been viewed as “enrichment” at best, or a distraction at worst from the primary focus on fixing the schools and raising student achievement.

CGEL’s mission is to work with the leaders of our city and our schools to take K-12 global education to the next level – where global teaching and learning is systemic, high quality, equitably available, and integrated into the core curriculum.  CGEL will work with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the State Board of Education, and DC Public Schools (DCPS), as well as with external partners and experts, to advance this reform agenda. 

While DC public charter schools are not the focus of this systemic reform effort, interested charter schools will find many ways to benefit from CGEL’s work to globalize K-12 education in DC.

What would a globalized system look like?  We would expect:

  • Leadership that understands the necessity of preparing students for life and work in a globalized world, and incorporates the teaching of global competencies for all students in its overall strategic plans.
  • State and system level policies that support global teaching and learning.
  • Global content, skills, and perspectives infused throughout the curriculum – across all grades and content areas.
  • Teachers and school administrators prepared to teach students globally for the 21st century.
  • Educators who draw on best practices internationally and see themselves as part of a global community of educators.
  • All schools seen as global schools.
  • K-12 pipelines providing progressively advanced, age appropriate global education, experiences, and world language programs. 
  • High quality specialized global education and language programs as options for parents and students.
  • Partnerships, afterschool programs, school linkages, travel opportunities, and other external resources which support classroom instruction.

CGEL's Global DC Initiative – Phase I:  “Global DC: Creating the Vision”

Thanks to a State Innovation Grant from the Longview Foundation and the Asia Society, CGEL is launching the first phase of its “Global DC Initiative” during the 2011-12 school year.  This phase is designed to articulate the case, build the coalition, and create the vision that will begin to move DC towards an intentional, systemic approach to preparing all students for success in a globalized world.  It will include:

  • Research on the current state of global education in DC.
  • A one-day Global Education Summit
  • Release of a Summit Report by winter 2012

Get involved!

Our Global DC Initiative requires the help of many volunteers from different sectors of our community.  Please contact sally@dc-cgel.org to discuss ways to get involved in this exciting project.

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