Don??Hirsch, founder of Core Knowledge and author of Cultural Literacy, says that students do, indeed, need these "21st Century Skills." But, he's arguing, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is deeply misguided in its understanding of how students can develop these skills.
"The error at the heart of P21 is the idea that skills are all-purpose muscles that, once developed, can be applied to new and unforeseen domains of experience," he said. That's just not true.
So how do people actually acquire these skills???According to Hirsch, and his reading of??the research, they have??domain knowledge in a wide range of domains. In other words, the "real basis" of 21st century skills is "wide-ranging knowledge."
Now Hirsch is discussing the Armed Forces Qualifying Test. He took it himself a few weeks ago, and later got a call from a Navy recruiter, who was disappointed to learn that he's 80 years old! To do well on the test, which is related to "21st century skills," test-takers need to know a lot of stuff. They need wide-ranging knowledge.
"Skill is knowledge. There is no shortcut."...