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News,  September 09, 2007

Support Builds for Teaching New Skills

"Proponents of educational technology for years have been saying that schools need to focus more on teaching so-called '21st-century skills,' such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Now, it appears momentum is finally building on Capitol Hill to encourage such reforms: The chairman of the House education committee says he hopes to push legislation renewing the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) through Congress this fall, and one of the key changes to the law he plans to propose is incentives for states to develop more rigorous standards that reflect the needs of 21st-century learners.

'In so many meetings I have had in my district and elsewhere, employers say that our high school graduates are not ready for the workplace. Colleges say that our high school graduates are not ready for the college classroom. This is unacceptable,' said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., in a July 30 speech to reporters stating his vision for reforming the nation's education law.

'In my bill, we will ask employers and colleges to come together as stakeholders with the states to jointly develop more rigorous standards that meet the demands of both. Many states have already started this process. We seek to build on and complement the leadership of our nation's governors and provide them incentives to continue. This requires that assessments be fully aligned with these new state standards and include multiple measures of success.'

'These measures can no longer reflect just basic skills and memorization,' Miller continued. 'Rather, they must reflect critical-thinking skills and the ability to apply knowledge to new and challenging contexts. These are the skills that today's students will need to meet the complex demands of the American economy and society in a globalized world.'

'Schools must no longer prepare our students to be autonomous problem solvers. The workplace they enter tomorrow will increasingly require them to work in teams, collaborating across companies, communities, and continents. These skills cannot be developed solely by simple multiple-choice exams.'"

URL: http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory.cfm?ArticleID=7332
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 09, 2007 | News
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