Jay Rockefeller’s 21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act, which would establish a federal slush fund for states that implement 21st century skills initiatives, is still languishing in the Senate Finance Committee, so the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) appears to be attempting to sneak funding streams for their Strategic Council members into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The Trojan horse is the NEA’s recently released Initial Legislative Recommendations for Reauthorization of ESEA. The document calls for funding for the development of standards for 21st century skills (p. 14), new assessments for 21st century skills (p. 14-15), an annual survey of 21st century competency conducted by the U.S. Department of Education (p. 142), and mandatory assessment of 21st century literacy “at least once” in elementary school and “at least once” in secondary school (also p. 142).
Who’s pushing for this? The tell appears on p. 151 of the NEA’s 170-page document. P21 wants ESEA’s Title V, Part B to include “21st Century Skills Grants to States.” From the document:
“Grants to states to develop (educators, business, and other stakeholders) and incorporate a 21st century standards and framework for education, with particular emphasis on high schools. Funds also should be available to review and revise assessments to ensure that students are provided opportunities to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving and communications skills; to integrate 21st century skills and knowledge, including critical thinking and problem solving skills into the entire curriculum at the high school level; to support 21st century skills planning groups that include teachers and members with a range of backgrounds in business and education; and to provide professional development for educators regarding how to integrate 21st century skills into the entire curriculum. (www.21stcenturyskills.org)”
21stcenturyskills.org is, of course, the Web presence of P21. Keep in mind that when P21 refers to “stakeholders” they are referring to organizations such as Cisco, Dell, and Intel who pay to join the Partnership.
To cap it off, the “Findings = Case for 21st Century Education” outlined on p. 152 is copied practically verbatim from a P21 publication (see p. 5).
Enough proof that the NEA is ghostwriting for P21? Lest we forget: There is no evidence whatsoever that the program put forth by P21 increases student achievement or enhances their education in any way. In fact, according to cognitive scientists, P21′s program does not and cannot work.