Beware of requiring soft, vague 21st century skills, such as “media literacy, critical thinking and working in groups,” editorializes the Boston Globe. The state school board is considering a proposal by a task force which concluded that “straight academic content is no longer enough” for student success. The Globe warns:
The 21st-century skills movement could return Massachusetts to an era of low academic standards.
Massachusetts’ “15-year track record of successful education reform” is at risk, write Charles D. Chieppo and James T. Gass in Education Next.
Despite the clear success of more than a decade of education reform in Massachusetts, Governor Patrick’s administration has turned its back on the very forces behind that success: it is wavering on standards, choice is under continual fire, and the board of education has been stripped of the independence that for 170 years was Horace Mann’s legacy and had allowed the board to implement reform with a singular focus on improving student achievement.
. . . Results released in September 2008 showed a sharp drop in MCAS pass rates and flat or declining scores in the elementary and middle school grades and in many urban districts.
Massachusetts probably has the best education system in the nation. Why mess it up?