Common Core challenges P21

Today Common Core released a letter calling on P21 and other advocates of 21st century skills to “reshape their effort by putting knowledge and skills together at the core of their work.” It is signed by an array of educators, advocates, scholars, and policymakers, including E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Chester E. Finn, Jr., Sol Stern, Sandra Stotsky, Diane Ravitch, Daniel Willingham, Randi Weingarten, Jason Griffiths, Lynne Munson, and Mark Bauerlein. I signed it too, so I won’t comment on it; I simply encourage you to read it!

And over at the Core Knowledge blog, Robert Pondiscio makes a compelling argument that the key difference between advocates and critics of the 21st century skills movement is “one of orientation”–and no trivial matter.

Update: The letter inspired the first-ever sing-along on the Core Knowledge blog.


  1. My faorite story happened 7 years ago when my son was in first grade. My wife and I naively told his teacher that he loved geography and could find any country in the world. (He would badger me to ask him geography questions.) His teacher said: “Yes, he has a lot of superficial knowledge.” Ouch! I suppose I should have squashed that love of rote learning right then. It might have stopped his current practice of memorizing Robert Frost poems. Later that year, my son said that he had to show the student teacher where Kuwait was during a thematic unit on sands from around the world. Don’t you just luv thematic learning?

    I’ve written this lately, which seems appropriate.

    – – – – –

    “Ode to Balance”

    Oh! Balance!
    How I love thee.
    You’re the answer
    To all that bugs me.

    I try to think,
    But have no facts.
    I use the web,
    but Google lacks.

    I need an answer
    Between twaddle and twiddle,
    So I use my love
    And pick the middle.

    – – – – –

    … and my 21st century skills let me do it so quickly.