Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

April 26, 2010

21st Century Skills

Filed under: Education — by Robert @ 4:10 pm

There’s a lot of talk these days about the skills necessary for the 21st century and the “global economy.”  We’re living in the land of Google, e-mail, texting, Facebook, Twitter, international consortia, and GPS.  We have resources at our fingertips that were unheard of just twenty years ago, let alone a century ago.  In 80 short years we’ve flown from the 12 seconds and 120 feet at Kitty Hawk to the moon and back. We have trains that travel underwater to link different cultures. We have machines that can consume the earth ten times over.  We’re connected, concerned and care about tomorrow.  What do my kids need?

 The pundits and politicians tell us we need more money to provide them with 21st century skills.  After a lot of consideration, I offer the following as a benchmark for those skills as one proceeds into high school in America.  This is a 21st century entrance test to the high school of your choice.  Good Luck

Just go to this Link and proceed:


When you’ve finished, come back here.

Don’t peek before you’re done……

Welcome Back!

Here’s the point.   The 21st Century skills necessary are really no different than those expected in the 20th, 19th, 18th… centuries.  There are fundamentals to be known in each of the liberal arts.  There is a truth in each.  But our expectations have changed or slipped over time.  We’ve inflated grades and the importance of our associations.  We’ve come to rely more on the technologies of education than the fundamental facts of hard work, dedication and purpose.

All those wonderful gadgets that we experience and use today weren’t created in a vacuum.  Someone thought them up.  Someone developed them. They learned from those who went before and built upon it.  But it’s not just the wonders of these new technological tools.  Developers also had to be able to communicate their ideas to others and “sell” them on the idea. 

The skills that are necessary today are the skills that occasionally get lost in the glamour of new inventions and over time.  According to research, 50% of the students in most of the state colleges and universities require “remediation” courses in order to enter and/or continue.  Research also says that at least 60% of the students entering community colleges today require “remediation” courses.  These are usually in English and Math.  How can it be that B and A average students graduating from high school require remediation of any kind?  

Somewhere in this sad statistic are the skills necessary and are necessary not only from students, but from their teachers and schools as well.


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