Portland, Maine — July 30, 2007 — The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the nation´s leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education, today announced a joint partnership with the state of Maine to bring globally competitive 21st century teaching and learning skills to its schools, educators and students.
Maine Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron made the announcement that her state was joining the Partnership´s State Leadership Initiative during the annual Council of Chief State School Officers´ Summer Institute, which is being held in Portland, Maine.
"The skills students need to enter and advance in the work force today are far beyond what were needed even 20 years ago," Gendron said. "High school graduates need a global awareness, work skills that include team-building, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem-solving, self-motivation and self-direction skills, information, communications and technology literacy, as well as high levels of literacy and numeracy. If we think we can let some of our students graduate with less than that and still succeed, then we are fooling ourselves."
Gendron made the announcement at a press conference at the Portland Regency Hotel with Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills; Kathy Hurley of Pearson Education, a Partnership board member; and Philip Dionne, vice chair of the Maine State Board of Education.
Gov. John Baldacci, a strong supporter of workforce training and incorporating technology and other 21st century skills into Maine schools´ curriculum, praised Maine´s entry into the partnership.
"The work of the partnership is directly in line with everything we are working toward in the state of Maine, in particular ensuring that our students graduate ready for college and career, as well as citizenship," Baldacci said. "From our WIRED grant to laptops in the classroom and the Governor´s Work Force Cabinet — all of it is aimed at graduating our students with more than just specific knowledge, but with the know-how to succeed whether they head off for college or go straight into a career."
Accelerating technological change, rapidly accumulating knowledge, increasing global competition and rising workforce requirements make 21st century skills essential for every student´s success. The Partnership´s State Leadership Initiative is guided by its Framework for 21st Century Learning, which builds upon core subject expertise and emphasizes the skills, knowledge and expertise today´s students must master to compete globally and become successful 21st century citizens. The framework also defines how school systems can best support 21st century education outcomes by focusing diligently on 21st century standards, assessments, professional development, curriculum and instruction, and learning environments.
Maine joins a growing network of states that have pledged their support to developing a framework for 21st century learning outcomes. Currently, five additional states, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin, are members of the Partnership´s State Leadership Initiative.
Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, commended Maine for prioritizing the 21st century learning outcomes its students need to become successful citizens and workers in our increasingly globally interconnected society.
"Maine understands that for its students to be successful 21st century citizens and workers, its education system must expand beyond core subject mastery," Kay said. "Incorporating 21st century interdisciplinary themes and learning projects into core curriculum will engage students and help them acquire essential 21st century skills."
Karen Cator, chair of the Partnership and director of education advocacy for Apple, said that the Partnership "looks forward to working with the state´s education, business and public policy leaders to create a comprehensive framework for 21st century learning outcomes. Maine is fortunate to have state and local leaders who recognize the importance of bringing new 21st century skills, knowledge and expertise to its students to ensure they are successful 21st century workers and citizens," she said.
About the Partnership for 21st Century Skills
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education to ensure every child´s success as citizens and workers in the 21st century. The Partnership encourages schools, districts and states to advocate for the infusion of 21st century skills into education and provides tools and resources to help facilitate and drive change.
Member organizations include: Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple, AT&T, Blackboard, Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Cisco Systems, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Davis Publications, Dell, Inc., Discovery Education, EF Education, Education Networks of America, Education Testing Service, Ford Motor Company Fund, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Intel Foundation, JA Worldwide?, LeapFrog SchoolHouse, McGraw-Hill Education, Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson Education, PolyVision, SAP, SAS, Texas Instruments, THINKronize, Thomson Gale, Verizon. Organizations interested in joining the Partnership may contact firstname.lastname@example.org