Most education reform efforts claim to improve student achievement or close achievement gaps between groups of students. So it’s puzzling that the Partnership for 21st Century Skills has enjoyed as much success as it has when there’s no data – none – that P21’s program improves learning one bit.
Don’t get us wrong: P21 does excel at producing data. But it is all about business’ opinions of what schools should be doing. Their most recent effort is a survey of 2,115 “managers and other executives” at member companies of the American Management Association, an organization that specializes in professional development for executives. The executives all placed high importance on P21’s “4 C’s” – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity – not because they help provide students with a full education, but because the skills were deemed “crucial to workforce preparedness and business success.”
Forget English, history, art, and science class. Coming soon to classrooms near you: “How to Use a Photocopy Machine,” “Preparing for the Big Meeting,” and “How to Write a Business Plan.” See for yourself.
James Elias and Lynne Munson