A Mysterious 21st-Century Skills Meeting

By Stephen Sawchuk — March 25, 2009 1 min read
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Now THIS is interesting. Apparently, there’s a big panel discussion on 21st-century skills going on today at the National Education Association’s headquarters. NEA, one of the founding partners of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, is hosting.

I heard about the event in a very roundabout way and sent a puzzled e-mail to a bunch of folks inquiring whether I could drop by and attend, since I’ve written about 21st-century skills in two recent stories. I was extended an invitation by one NEA official, only to have it rescinded minutes later by another.

The panelists all appear to be supportive of 21st-century skills. They include NEA Executive Director John Wilson; Ken Kay, the president of P21; and Paige Kuni, the worldwide manager of K-12 education for Intel and one of the P21 board members. Also expected to be in attendance is Barbara Pryor, a legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Don’t know where the senator stands on P21 but I assume, given that West Virginia’s been pushing hard on 21st-century skills, that he’s also supportive.

Is this an opportunity for proponents of 21st-century skills to lick their wounds from the battering they’ve gotten lately? Maybe, but it could be more than that. The invitation list, and I’m assuming it’s invitation-only, reads like a who’s who of the top education organizations in town. CCSSO? Check. AASA? Check. NASBE, AACTE, NSBA, PTA, NAESP, NASSP? Check, check.

On the other hand, also on the invitation list are a bunch of members from the American Federation of Teachers, including AFT Secretary-Treasurer Antonia Cortese, who’s clearly not a fan of P21.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.