Fur is flying over a Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ talk to the National Education Association. Though reporters were not invited, Lynne Munson wrote on Common Core that P21’s “Paige Kuni explained that in the ‘search cut and paste environment’ students . . . only need to know ‘enough of the most crucial information’.”
She didn’t say who decides when enough is enough or what P21 considers crucial. Is it enough earth science to know that the earth is round? Enough literature to have heard of Shakespeare? Enough history to know that we once fought a civil war because the North and South disagreed about something?
. . . In their remarks, none of the panelists mentioned science, geography, foreign languages, history, literature, art, civics — the list goes on and on.
Kuni responded in a Flypaper comment.
. . . I believe that students absolutely need to be taught content in combination with instruction that leads to 21st century skills like critical thinking, innovation, and collaboration. I believe that by creating schools that adopt the approaches P21 supports, students will be able to make connections of how a changing form makes butterflies more successful in the ecosystem. That they can think critically about how life cycles connect to evolution. And that they could extrapolate to other topics such as how product lifecycles in business are the same or different from butterfly lifecycles in making companies successful. When they are 25 if they cannot recall the name of one-step in the lifecycle, it isn’t important as long as they possess the learning skills that allow them to access that information when they need it (search- cut- paste).
Eduwonk sees common ground — if P21 adherents get a lot more specific about how students are going to learn the content that’s essential to thinking critically or creatively.
Robert Pondiscio, who’s back and blogging, muses about resistance to “content.” Personally, I prefer “knowledge.”