Friday, March 11, 2011

22nd-Century Skills--A Modest Proposal

Illustration: Michael Duffy
A Modest Proposal
By Alfie Kohn

"In addition to competitiveness, those who specify an entire century to frame their objectives tend not to be distracted by all the fretting about what's good for children. Instead, they ask, "What do our corporations need?" and work backward from there. We must never forget the primary reason that children attend school-namely, to be trained in the skills that will maximize the profits earned by their future employers. Indeed, we have already made great strides in shifting the conversation about education to what will prove useful in workplaces rather than wasting time discussing what might support "democracy" (an 18th-century notion, isn't it?) or what might promote self-development as an intrinsic good (a concept that goes back thousands of years and is, therefore, antiquated by definition).

...The final distinguishing feature of education that's geared to the next century is its worshipful attitude toward mathematics and technology. "If you can't quantify it or plug it in, who needs it?" Of course, the reason we will continue to redirect resources toward the STEM subjects (and away from literature and the arts) isn't because the former are inherently more important but simply because they're more useful from an economic standpoint. And that standpoint is the only one that matters for schools with a proper 22nd-century mindset."

Continue Reading:
22nd-Century Skills--A Modest Proposal