Saturday, October 13, 2007

21st Century Skills in Maine

This past summer Maine joined the National Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

While many people are celebrating this initiative, Gary Stager has another take on it. He argues that there is nothing new to these skills, that they've always been important, and aren't anything that couldn't be done without computers. He also points out that this is being sponsored and pushed by large corporations who also support NCLB. Read Stager's article, "Apparently This Group of Tech Execs Has as Crystal Ball," here.

What do you think? Does Stager have a point or is this perhaps just an example of keynote speaker opportunism? How legitimate is the Partnership? Is it yet another of a long history of glossy attempts by large corporations to further their interests in the marketplace while failing to consider our disintegrating culture and lack of an adequate social safety net for our citizens?

Twenty-first Century Skills Resources


Gary said...


Thanks for sharing my article.

Here are a few other questions for you and your readers:

What is a teacher supposed to do once they read documents like those created by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills? What is being asked of them? What will the State DOE or legislature do differently now? How can we measure their performance?

In some ways, Maine has been a leader in the educational use of computers and fiercely independent of national mandates. Why surrender this streak of local control to a group of corporate executives?

If 21st Century skills do exist, one might be to read primary sources. Why should a busy teacher read longer, more complex works by experts in progressive education when "all of the answers" are provided in a glossy pamphlet?

Many teachers report being overwhelmed by an increasing list of demands for their attention, time and energy. Since I believe that leadership is as much about subtraction as addition, what can teachers in classrooms emphasizing 21st Century skills stop doing?

All the very best,

Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.

Jim Burke said...


Thanks for adding to the conversation with additional questions. Very much appreciated.