Magazine article District Administration

New Report Aims to Bring High Schools into 21st Century

Magazine article District Administration

New Report Aims to Bring High Schools into 21st Century

Article excerpt

The necessity of teaching students 21st century skills-and suggestions to achieve that goal-is the focus of a new report from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

Results That Matter: 21st Century Skills and High School Reform outlines six elements the partnership claims are essential to returning America to a competitive footing in the international education scene.

"Standardized tests alone can measure only a few of the important skills and knowledge students should learn," the report states.

The partnership's vision is to spark a dialogue, said partnership chair John Wilson during a recent teleconference announcing the report. Scott Montgomery, COO of the Council of Chief State School Officers, added that advocates of high school redesign should work together.

On the 2003 Programme for International Student Assessment math exam, 15-year-old American students ranked 24th out of 29 countries. And a 2005 survey for the National Association of Manufacturers showed that 84 percent of American employers say students are ill prepared for the workplace.

"Improving the value of a high school education improves the work force," said partnership President Ken Kay, who was also on the call. Wilson said incorporating the key elements into curricula would increase rigor without creating a need for extra classes. The plan also emphasizes that schools work with business to determine what skills students need. Employees are encouraged to be mentors and businesses should share technological resources.

Suggestions for districts include providing professional development to assist teachers in incorporating 21st century skills into their lessons; providing internship opportunities; and reaching out to businesses and colleges, www. …

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