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ERIC Number: EJ889143
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
"21st-Century" Skills: Not New, but a Worthy Challenge
Rotherham, Andrew J.; Willingham, Daniel T.
American Educator, v34 n1 p17-20 Spr 2010
A growing number of business leaders, politicians, and educators are united around the idea that students need "21st-century skills" to be successful today. It's exciting to believe that one lives in times that are so revolutionary that they demand new and different abilities. But in fact, the skills students need in the 21st century are not new. What's new is the extent to which changes in the economy and the world mean that collective and individual success depends on having such skills. The authors argue that if these skills were indeed new, then Americans would need a radical overhaul of how they think about content and curriculum. Developing students' skills requires a content-rich curriculum, well-supported teachers, and sophisticated assessments. The authors seek to call attention to the magnitude of the challenge and to sound a note of caution amidst the sirens calling the political leaders once again to the rocky shoals of past education reform failures. Without better curriculum, better teaching, and better tests, the emphasis on "21st-century skills" will be a superficial one that will sacrifice long-term gains for the appearance of short-term progress. (Contains 5 endnotes.)
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A