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Sign me up, Mr. President!: The Transition Brief:

With a president-elect who gets the power of YouTube and social networking, with a campaign that demonstrated the power of effective communication and community-building in new landscapes, this is prime time for us to demonstrate the power of those tools for teaching and learning.

Yesterday, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills released its Transition Brief: Policy Recommendations on Preparing Americans for the Global Skills Race.

The 14-page PDF document

offers broad proposals for forging a workforce and creating an education system that will thrive in the 21st century.

It points to three reasons for change:

  • changes in the economy and the nature of work
  • new skills demands from jobs and businesses
  • two student achievement gaps: (1) the one between our own higher and lower achieving students, and (2) the global achievement gap–the one between our students (some top-performing) and their international peers in competitor nations.

The Brief proposes that

the next administration must concentrate on helping every American obtain the skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and effective communicating, that are required to be successful.

And it recommends that the new administration do the following:

Lead: Advocate 21st century skills as a major theme of this presidency, beginning with the Inaugural Address and a White House Summit on 21st Century Skills in 2009.

Mobilize: Coordinate the policies and actions of federal agencies in promoting and creating an aligned, 21st century public education and workforce development system, including the reauthorization of ESEA and other federal legislation.

  • Establish a senior advisor for 21st century skills and workforce development at the White House.
  • Form an Office of 21st Century Skills within the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Create an Office of 21st Century Skills within the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Empower: Support states and communities with investments to build a strong infrastructure and capacity for preparing students, workers and citizens with 21st century skills.

  • Create a significant Global Competitiveness Research and Development Fund for U.S. education, and target a quarter of the funding to innovation in 21st century skills.
  • Make the assessment of 21st century skills a priority.
  • Support states’ ability to meet accountability requirements and foster 21st century skills.
  • Ensure that schools are equipped with a 21st century technology infrastructure and 21st century technology tools.

I am / we are all about 21st century skills, so here’s what I am wondering. 

How do we sign up?  We are all about the goals described in this Briefcritical thinking, problem solving and effective communicating.

If President Obama takes the Brief to heart and to mind, what role will librarians and our teacher-partners play in making sure these skills are delivered? 

Ready to lead, mobilize, empower,

Sign me up, please.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Debra Giannone says:

    I’m with you. I sent the brief to my faculty. I have a forward thinking Assistant Principal and we have been emailing things like this to the faculty all week. I also emailed them about David Warlick’s project.

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