EdWeek’s Steven Sawchuk files a big 21st Century Skills piece off last week’s Common Core event in the new Edweek. It’s well-worth reading if you’re new to the debate and looking for a straight, dispassionate take on the argument over P21.
It seems to me that P21 wants to promote advertising skills more than critical thinking skills. Make a commercial of your favorite short story. Make a soundtrack and video display for a poem. Make a Venn diagram, using online “concept mapping” tools, to compare world religions….The worst projects promote a culture in which students are called upon to “sell” a work of literature or a snack (more or less side by side). Instead of delving into the language, they clip it and package it. Instead of studying history, they build their “financial literacy” by developing a strategy for selling snacks.
Joanne Jacob also weighs in with a lengthy recap of the ongoing debate; Finally, a hat tip to Jay Greene, who provides comic relief with a 21CS spoof from The Onion: An impossibly deadpan Fox News-style panel discussion on Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Kids for the Post-Apocalyptic Future? “The games make it all seem deceptively simple,” one panelist opines. “A kid’s not going to be able to kill a six-foot long irradiated beetle just by pushing a few buttons. He’s going to have to get down there with an axe and hack and hack and hack…”