The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009) National Action Agenda on 21st Century Skills Tucson AZ: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has put forth a set of National Action Agenda Principles to clearly define and advance 21st century skills and core content in the United States.


National Action Agenda on 21st Century Skills

While the nature of life and work has changed dramatically in the last few decades, our educational policy has not evolved to meet these new realities. In pursuit of individual success for our students, as well as the health of our nation as a whole, we must commit to an education agenda that equips the next generation for the opportunities and challenges it shall face. Therefore, we urge all levels of government, as well as stakeholders, to embrace the following principles.


  • U.S. economic and civic viability depend on our ability to prepare today’s students for the realities of this century. Access to the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s world is the right of every child, and ensuring this must be a national priority.
  • It is not sufficient to simply respond to these needs rhetorically. All of our public policy initiatives in education must be put to the test of whether they promote access to 21st century skills for all of our students.
  • The United States comprehensively must address both of its educational achievement gaps – the gap between traditionally underserved communities and their more affluent peers – as well as the overall achievement gap between U.S. students and many of their international peers. We cannot do this in steps, both gaps must be bridged, and ALL of our students must be able to compete successfully with their peers around the world.
  • Wide scale integration of 21st century skills and knowledge into the teaching and learning process cannot be accomplished via isolated programs or minor tweaking of existing programs. We must entwine them in our education, labor, economic, and technology/telecommunications policies. Governments at the local, state, and national level must align their education, economic, labor, technology, and commerce functions to support 21st century education from early childhood through higher education and employee retraining programs.
  • Twenty-first century skills and knowledge are not limited to any particular grade or age level, and should be incorporated into pre-K through higher education, workforce development, and career re-training.
  • We must invest in our educational infrastructure so all communities have educational systems which provide students 21st century learning environments. Twenty first century skills are the threshold to full participation in today’s world, so we must be vigilant in ensuring all communities have equal access to a 21st century education.
  • Educational employees must have consistent access to the tools and support systems necessary to transition to a 21st century learning environment. Both in-service professional development and pre-service education must reflect the realities of quality teaching in this century.
  • The corporate, public policy, and education sectors should collaborate at all levels to ensure schools provide high quality education that equips students for this century. The future viability of all these sectors rests in the success of this mission.

To date, 230 organizations have signed up to support this national action agenda.


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