Much has been written about the changing needs of students in the 21st century and the transformation that must take place in our schools to make it happen. Several things are clear to me as I read them. First, it is going to take a visionary administration to remake the environment in which our schools operate in order for those changes to be possible. Second, like a mile-long freight train being switched onto another track, it will take a very long time for the needed changes to work their way down to the local level.
It took several years for No Child Left Behind to shift the focus of our schools from students to test scores, but that shift happened. In the meantime, the world shifted, too. What we really need now is No School Left Behind. Schools need to become more agile, more proactive, more willing to look ten or twenty years into the future instead of one or two.
If this website is any indication of the administration to come—one that not only listens to its consitutents, but actively invites their participation in the government—it has the necessary vision and determination. But even greater than this, it just underscores how much different a world tomorrow’s citizens will inhabit. We truly need to empower our students with the skills that Robert Sternberg calls the “other three R’s”: Reasoning, Resilience, and Responsibility.
None of those are on the PSSA test. But they’re all on the real one: life.