Wednesday, July 20, 2011

21st Century Skills

After visiting the website which addresses the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I discovered that there is a push for the skills necessary to be successful in today's workforce, yet many states are not part of the initiative. I was pretty excited to see that there is a variety of resources for educators such as videos, blogs, and wikis to visit.

One thing that surprised me about this site was that there were only 15 states in the initiative. My state, Indiana, is actually not in it. Although Indiana is not part of this partnership, after visiting one of the wikis, I was able to get a better understanding of project-based learning (PBL). PBL is actually emphasized and taught at Indiana University and was emphasized in a video on one of the resources on the previous wiki. It really pushes for this type of learning to meet the skills essential for P21 skills. If PBL is being taught to current and future educators, why are only 15 states part of the initiative? According to the P21 skills site, as I understand, for the state to become a part of this partnership, the state's Governor has to submit an application with the state's plan to implement the 3R's and 4C's to join.

In the Framework for State Initiatives, there were five recommendations for implementing P21 skills. I liked that one of them said that we need a national consensus around the assessments of 21st Century Skills through large-scale public education initiatives. If only a few states are in this initiative, then how is our nation going to keep up with other countries? I liked that Cisco posted a video and a statement on how... "technology, when intelligently applied, can empower K-12 leaders to deliver 21st Century Skills." If these large companies are trying to push for the skills in education, then I feel it is our duty to do this so students can eventually be employed by these companies whether it be out of high school or after some type of post secondary education. I think it would be great for a Governor to link a state to such a great initiative, but where is the funding to provide professional development going to come from?

One thing I did not agree with on this site was that the Affiliate Program for Professional Development was very costly. Another personal disagreement is its affiliation with the NEA, which has, in my opinion, contributed to and lobbied for very controversial political issues.

The implications of my students and myself as a contemporary educator are not in line with many of the state initiatives. We are still doing paper pencil tests which lack critical thinking application, yet there is a necessity to teach the P21 skills for our children to succeed in the workforce of today and the future. A lot of it boils down to politics and money. If everyone had the same goals for education, we would not be facing these challenges in the education system today.