The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

I recently visited the site The Partnership for 21st Century Skills for an assignment in the class I am taking. At first glance, this website looks like another compilation of multiple ideas about how to accelerate the evolution of the American school system from its Industrial Age foundation to the Technological/Information Age. The partnership’s site describes its mission is to, “Serve as a catalyst to position 21st century skills at the center of US K-12 education by building collaborative partnerships among education, business, community and government leaders”. As I began to explore the site I was surprised at the amount of input the site receives from a multitude of different sources in the public and private sector. The site serves as a meeting place for giants from the academic sector as well as the private market and not only informs educators and educational policy-makers but provides real, usable resources for individual educators as well as school leadership teams to help transition into a 21st century school. The partnership’s sister-site Route 21 not only explains what a 21st century classroom should look like (and there are MANY different models), but also gives teachers tools such as lesson plans, collaborative team building exercises, and school leadership guidelines to help schools make the transition quickly and easily.

            After perusing the site over the past few days, I do have some concern about this organizations partnership between big business and public education. Although I see the urgency to have input from the companies that many of my students will, most likely, one day work for, I hesitate to allow these businesses to develop curriculum and dictate to federal, state, and local governments what should be included in the classroom. A healthy dialogue about the transformation of the public, educational system requires the input from business, government, and community, but I worry when business can begin to have more control over what is taught in the classroom.

            Although I have some mild concerns, I see this website as incredibly useful for any educator/school looking to move into the 21st century. For my own students, I can adapt many of the technological based lessons to my own assigned curriculum and focus on the skills (creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, information literacy, media literacy, ICT literacy, and life and career skills) that this organization has found will help all of my students succeed in the 21st century workplace. As a contemporary educator, the information on this site will assist me in transforming my classroom, through the incorporation of technology, as well as a shift to inquiry-driven, project-based assignments with multitudes of diverse assessments, and developing the foundational knowledge my students will need for the future.




6 Responses to “The Partnership for 21st Century Skills”

  1. Derrick,

    I agree that big businesses should not have much say in what is taught in the classroom. This could get sticky because businesses will want certain things taught that should not be taught in the public schools.

    I also found Route 21 was a useful site. Has your district implemented many of the guidelines suggested?

  2. I also agree that it is important to have big business on your side for the sake of funding and supplies. A school interacting with this program will potentially have support from a variety of different companies with a plethora of valuable supplies. I just hope the leaders of the school systems, who are essentially business people themselves, aren’t enticed by financial support and therefore give into a slightly lesser value system than they would have in the past.

  3. erin beauvais Says:

    Businesses should not be writing curriculum, but i do see why the 21st century skills web site has them as partners. Companies like Apple and CISCO are very involved in education- not so much with content, but students will buy their products and work for them some day and involves technology. We have a CISCO program in one of our high schools where students learn hands-on with CISCO employees.
    The skills needed for the 21st century should be incorporated into our daily lessons so that our students can have a head start when they graduate and look for jobs. This web site is a good step in the right direction for giving teachers resources to use.

  4. I see your review and I do agree that there are many resources for teachers on the 21 site. I however, think it is okay for corporations to fund education. The money they donate to educational purposes is amazing. We have received grant money that has helped our school buy smart boards, digital cameras, computers, and even software. The companies will ultimately benefit because they will receive the students in the future as possible employees.

    • In my district, we have also received grants from big businesses. A lot of the times without their funding, many title i schools do not have the funds necessary to get the equipment needed to keep up with the push for technology in the classrooms.

  5. I agree in that businesses should not be mandating what is taught in the classroom, but I would like to hear there thoughts about education and how to improve it. The school system where I taught some schools were partnered with local businesses. Some of these businesses are large, global companies that are based in our area. The business benefited from advertisement on all documents sent out of the school, not by tacky adds , but a thanks for being our partner. The school gained from having additional money being poured into the school and anytime something was needed they would put together a presentation and share it with the company who often would contribute toward or pay for all of what was needed. I see this being the future of education where companies team with schools to provide the best environment and skills to our students.

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