A World-Class Fix for Schools

To overhaul No Child Left Behind, President Obama and Arne Duncan should take a page from Chicago's success with globally focused schools.

Students at Walter Payton College Prep participate in a videoconference call.

The key to the success of these schools is that they do not merely layer on an international perspective once the basics are covered or reserve international content for a select few; rather, they use a global focus to deeply engage all students in learning.

Duncan’s simultaneous attack in Chicago on the age-old problem of poor academic achievement and the new demands of globalization is precisely what is needed on a national scale. The right to an excellent education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century, and building global competence among all American students is, indeed, the new definition of equal educational opportunity.

Anthony Jackson is executive director of Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning, a national membership network to advance international education.