Colorado’s State Board of Education must get their news by covered wagon. That might explain why the Denver Post is reporting that the new state academic standards, adopted last Thursday, stress the ideas promoted by the discredited 21st century skills movement.
The reading standards, for example, stress all kinds of faddish nonsense — did you know that “invention” is a 21st century skill? — but omit historically or culturally significant texts. Fordham’s State of State Standards survey has criticized Colorado’s reading standards for this before. Instead of addressing that problem, Colorado’s new standards wax eloquent about how “21st century skills are the synthesis of the essential abilities students must apply in our rapidly changing world. Today’s students need a repertoire of knowledge and skills that are more diverse, complex, and integrated than any previous generation.”
While the standards concede that skills can’t be taught without content, they still separate 21st century skills into their own category in the standards documents, and they’re very specific about the skills that need to be taught (and how to measure whether they are being taught), but provide no guidance about what students should know. A shame.