States would be able to use existing federal grants under ESEA to develop or expand 21st-century skills, college  and career readiness resources, and school dropout prevention programs.

The proposed legislation also emphasizes the need to partner core academic subjects with 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has noted that data from employers and colleges indicate that students who learn to use 21st-century skills along with core subject knowledge are better prepared for success in today’s global economy.

“This legislation mirrors principles and recommendations from P21 which demonstrate how fusing the 4Cs and core subjects makes learning more rigorous, relevant, and engaging as is necessary for college, work, and life success,” said Julie Walker, executive director of the American Association of School Librarians and chair of P21.

“By infusing this definitional framework into the language of the ESEA, it can serve as a bipartisan platform for reauthorization in supporting and encouraging state and local innovation in this direction,” said Alan Knapp, P21’s national policy director.