The Tucson based Partnership for 21st c. Skills outfit published today an attractive (a bit glossy) overview and call to arms, entitled 21st Century Skills, Education and Competitiveness: a Resource and Policy Guide

It doesn’t add anything new, really, to what is already on their website– it is a marketing piece as much as anything. But nonetheless, here are a few observations.

What is driving the need for new skills? The piece lays out the Friedman-esque case: we have dramatic changes in our jobs and economies, our workers require new skill sets, and we are increasingly lagging in a global achievement gap.

The complete list of 21st century skills is available at their website and is included in an overview I have done in a previous post. But what I note as really standing out here, and I know they stand out for many of us, is creativity (and innovation); communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problemsolving– particularly of complex, open-ended problems.

I am struck too by the resouces cited– there is to my view an increasingly defined universe of thinking on the topic: Friedman, Pink, Wagner, Sternberg, Conley, and Robinson are all cited here, and are the brightest stars in the constellation of thinking informing my project.

Here is the call-to-arms concluding quotation:

“This is a seminal moment in history for education and competitiveness. The fundamental shifts in the economy demand bold and creative policies. Formalizing the connection between
education and competitiveness with an agenda focused on 21st century skills—which are widely acknowledged and supported by voters, employers, educators, researchers and thought leaders—is the starting point.”