The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has announced that over 200 schools, districts, state departments of education, and national and regional organizations and businesses from 40 states have signed its National Action Agenda – eight principles that policy-makers and stakeholders are embracing to build an education system that prepares children to succeed in today’s world.
Issued by the Partnership, the principles intend to clearly define and advance knowledge, 21st century skills, and education in the United States.
In signing on to the action agenda, the 237 signatories – including the National School Boards Association, Upper Arlington City (Ohio) School District, Community Unit School District #200 (Ill.), National Staff Development Council, Catalina Foothills (Ariz.) Unified School District #16, National Association of State Boards of Education, Norfolk (Va.) Public School District and many others – committed to an education agenda that equips the next generation of students with the skills and knowledge required to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges they will face.
The principles state:
* U.S. economic and civic viability depend on our ability to prepare today’s students for the realities of this century. 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.
* It is not sufficient to simply respond to these needs rhetorically. All of our public policy initiatives in education must be put to the test of whether they promote access to 21st century skills for all of our students.
* The U.S. comprehensively must address both of its educational achievement gaps – the gap between traditionally underserved communities and their more affluent peers – as well as the overall achievement gap between U.S. students and many of their international peers. We cannot do this in steps, both gaps must be bridged, and all of our students must be able to compete successfully with their peers around the world.
* Wide scale integration of 21st century skills and knowledge into the teaching and learning process cannot be accomplished via isolated programs or minor tweaking of existing programs. We must entwine them in our education, labor, economic, and technology/telecommunications policies. Governments at the local, state, and national level must align their education, economic, labor, technology, and commerce functions to support 21st century education from early childhood through higher education and employee retraining programs.
* Twenty-first century skills and knowledge are not limited to any particular grade or age level, and should be incorporated into pre-K through higher education, workforce development, and career re-training.
* We must invest in our educational infrastructure so all communities have educational systems which provide students 21st century learning environments. Twenty first century skills are the threshold to full participation in today’s world, so we must be vigilant in ensuring all communities have equal access to a 21st century education.
* Educational employees must have consistent access to the tools and support systems necessary to transition to a 21st century learning environment. Both in-service professional development and pre-service education must reflect the realities of quality teaching in this century.
* The corporate, public policy, and education sectors should collaborate at all levels to ensure schools provide high quality education that equips students for this century. The future viability of all these sectors rests in the success of this mission.
Organizations interested in joining the Partnership may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, http://21stcenturyskills.org/