Wednesday, November 25, 2009

21st Century Skills

Ohio is the 14th state to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This is an organization whose mission statement is:
“The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child's success as citizens and workers in the 21st century. The Partnership encourages schools, districts and states to advocate for the infusion of 21st century skills into education and provides tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change.”
—Partnership for 21st Century Skills
At first I didn’t know anything about this group, so I went to their website and did some exploring. I read recent articles where I found out that Ohio, the state I teach in, just became the most recent state to join the organization. I started to think. If the organization was established in 2002, why are there only fourteen states signed up in 2009? As I read more from their web site I quickly noticed that much of their organizing partners are companies that have a vested interest in requiring schools to teach how to utilize their products. Many of the teacher support tools are products designed by the companies that created this organization. When you look at their mission statement it is the business community that is listed before educators. I may be wrong but I am a mathematics teacher. I am good at my job and I will have my students ready to graduate. I want to incorporate technology into the class room to improve student performance but I don’t like business and politics telling me how to teach. I did not see anywhere in this website how they want to tell parents how to instill these same qualities and practices in our youth that they are asking educators to do.
I am a teacher that will go out and find the continuing education and resources that are needed for me to help my students become productive members of society. But please do not put the whole burden of raising today’s children on educators.
If you would like to learn more about Partnership for 21st Century go to the link below.


  1. Thanks for doing the digging, Nancy. I didn't realize there was a link between these companies and businesses that "supply" the classroom. I think I will have to look into this a little more closely, especially in light of how much "education business" has made from NCLB. I have been teaching with technology (internet & peripherals) in the classroom for 10 years now and have spent a grand total of $0 on applications that develop real and transferable skills. The problem with these packaged suites for students is that they rarely allow them to co-construct knowledge or develop mashable and transferable skills. These packages are so intent on making the "experience" focused, "safe", and user-friendly, that they lose touch with reality and therefore students miss out on vital skills required for digital citizenship and information fluency. Thanks again.

  2. If you look at that list a little closer, you will also realize that the companies are WORLD leaders in their industries. They know what skills that workers need to have in order to for their companies need to be successful. Schools need to look towards what skills our students need to have in order to be productive and we need to embrace partnerships with business and not shun or fear them. We need them as much or more than they need us.

  3. In response to your statement regarding the websites lack of addressing parental involvment:
    I called a bunch of parents last week to inform them that their son/daughter is failing my class. 3 mothers asked me what they should do to their kids. I wish I could tell you that this was an isolated incident, but it is not. With the increase in single parent families, the problem is getting worse. It is apparent that a teacher has to not only educate students but has to participate in raising them in order to be successful. On my worst days, I feel like a high priced baby sitter. Fortunately, each year, they are becoming fewer. I do agree that websites such as the partnership for 21st century skills need to address skills for parents as well as teachers

  4. Regarding the hidden agenda of the corporate members of the Partnership, was the Partnership started by the education community looking for advice from the people who will one day hire our students or was it started by corporations looking to sell their wares? How many of the companies in the Partnership provide grant money to help schools fund technology? Also, many of the skills promoted by the Partnership can be taught without technolgy. I'm certainly not a fan of corporate America but to continue to educate our children without their input is doing a disservice to our students.

  5. I did not know Ohio was in the program. Where did you read it at? Did you find it on the Ohio Department of Education website? I do feel businesses should have some input into the program but should not be the ones who dictate what should be taught. I believe it should be a colaborative effort. I know not one person has all the answers and if we are to teach our children how to work cooperatively together then we need to work cooperatively with our society and businesses to get them ready for the 21st century with the right skills.

  6. I also think we need to have more collaboration between the business world and education. Especially with our high school students. As educators, we tend to think we know what's best for our students and that we can give them the best opportunities for success. However, I do believe that it takes a "village" to raise a child. Therefore, everyone in the village needs to be able to work together and provide each child with exposure to as many different learning opportunities as possible. In hopes, that at least one of those opportunities will catch their attention and motivate them to be the best they can be. I believe this should be everyone's goal, educators and businesses. Of course, that's not always the case because people do tend to have hidden agendas. But, this is another lesson to be learned, that our students can be made aware of as well.