Plan calls for action on 21st-century skills

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills asked organizations to join in their National Action.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills asked organizations to join in their National Action.

More than 200 schools, districts, universities, state education departments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations have expressed support for a “National Action Agenda” from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). The agenda lists eight guiding principles that will help build an education system that prepares children to succeed in today’s world, P21 says.

By signing the agenda, the organizations–which include the National School Boards Association, the National Education Association, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and Pearson Education–have committed to a plan that equips students with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to succeed in the 21st century, P21 says.

“To pursue and secure the American dream, every student from every background must receive a world-class education that includes rigorous core subject and 21st-century skills instruction,” said Ken Kay, P21 president. “The fact that so many schools, districts, and state departments of education have signed on demonstrates that the 21st-century skills movement is gaining momentum in our communities and that we are closer to providing a world-class education for every child.”

The principles that the organizations have agreed to uphold say that the economic and civic viability of the United States depends on its schools’ ability to prepare today’s students for the challenges and realities of this century, including a global, information-based economy. Access to the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s world is the right of every child, and ensuring this must be a national priority, the agenda states.

Keith Kruger, CoSN’s chief executive, said it’s clear that students need 21st-century skills such as creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking to succeed in today’s world.

“That doesn’t mean that the core skills of reading, math, and science go away, but that we also need these new 21st-century skills. CoSN is pleased to support the P21 National Action Agenda because it provides the compelling vision for policy makers and educators on where we need to go,” he said. “As Eric Hoffer said, ‘In times of change, learners inherit the earth–while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.'”

Laura Ascione

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