21st-Century-Skills Group Chooses New Leadership

By Catherine Gewertz — October 05, 2010 1 min read
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The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which has been pressing for the integration of skills such as global awareness and collaboration into academics, has chosen Timothy Magner as its new executive director. A former director of educational technology in the U.S. Department of Education, Magner succeeds Ken Kay, who was the partnership’s founding president eight years ago. Not long ago, the group named a new board chair, too.

You might recall that the change in leadership comes as P21 moves from Tucson, Arizona to Washington, D.C., as the Council of Chief State School Officers’ new roommate and “strategic management” partner. (See our earlier blog post for a refresher on this, and, I’m just now noticing, some pretty pointed comments about the post as well.) Magner’s no stranger to the CCSSO, either; he used to be its deputy executive director for educational technology.

How does all this matter to curriculum (forgive me; it was too good to resist)? Here’s how, potentially: the CCSSO was one of the groups that spearheaded the move to common standards, which have now been adopted, at least in part, by 37 states and the District of Columbia. The working relationship between the CCSSO and P21 appears to be deepening. The CCSSO is shaping the role it could play in implementation of the common standards, which could be quite influential in classrooms, and P21 is working to boost its influence on education policy.

In that light, I noted a couple of interesting things in P21’s press release about Magner’s new job, and the group’s work in the coming months:

A key focus will be on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, particularly promoting the inclusion of the four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication and creativity and innovation) within the legislation. Further, as states look at implementing the Common Core State Standards, Magner will guide P21 as it helps states create next generation assessments."

P21 will be helping states in assessment design? As in the state consortia that recently won more than $360 million from the U.S. Department of Education to design assessments reflecting the new common standards?

Stay tuned.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.