This was posted in one of the NACOL forums three or four days ago, and I also received it in my inbox from a colleague at Elluminate.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills
Report Identifies Inherent Link Between a 21st Century Education System and Economic Success
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is pleased to announce the release of our new report: 21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness.
You can download the report now from the Partnership’s website:
21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness: A Resource and Policy Guide features:
- the strong link between viable economies and 21st century education systems
- two achievement gaps – domestic and global – prevalent throughout the United States education system
- the 21st century skills outcomes students, workers and citizens need in order to triumph in the global skills race that is central to the economic competitiveness issue currently facing the United Statess
- recommendations at the federal, state and local level to help ensure all graduates are capable of competing with their national and international peers.
The Partnership encourages you to disseminate this report to staff, constituents, board members and others and, if possible, link to the report from your Web site. Please include information about 21st Century Skills, Education & Competitiveness in your organization’s publications such as internal and external newsletters.
The Partnership thanks the report sponsors: Ford Motor Company Fund, KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the National Education Association
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Erin Schmidt at email@example.com.
In the past I’ve outlined my problems with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (see VSS2007 – Virtual Schools and 21st Century Skills for the most detailed version of my issues). However, beyond the fact that the skills prompted as 21st century skills are simply not actual 21st century skills, the way in which this initiative has been promoted is that if we begin to use more technology in education (even if it is used in constructive ways) that this will solve all of the problems that we are experiencing with the education system in the United States.
For those who are truly interested in the problems with education in America, both K-12 and higher education, I would recommend that you pick up the book Declining by Degrees (for my Canadian readers, Ivory Tower Blues provides the same coverage from a Canadian perspective).
If you look at the countries that are surpassing the United States in competition, one of the main things you’ll notice is the focus upon languages. Countries like India and China had a focus upon learning English. Many European countries require youth to be bilingual in order to graduate high school, some eve require their youth to become trilingual in order to receive their university degree. When we look for models on how we can reform the American education system, I always tell people to look at a country like Ireland and see the measures (particularly those related to education) they have taken to turn their economy around.
Anyway, the 21st century skills have nothing to do with a 21st century economy – they’re just good skills, they were in the 19th century and in the 20th century, so it makes sense that they continue to be useful in the 21st century. And I do agree with the Partnership that many students graduating today don’t possess these skills. But the reasons why they don’t can be traced to the problems outlined in books like Declining by Degrees and Ivory Tower Blues, and not from a lack of technology in our schools.