The Critical Skills Journey – Déjà vu All Over Again?

The Critical Skills Journey – Déjà vu All Over Again?

I don’t know whether or not to be encouraged and optimistic or depressed.

They’re back . . . . Critical Skills . . . . this time hidden within what are now called Common Core Standards.

I was encouraged this morning by Education Secretary Arnie Duncan’s appearance on MSNBC’s “Good Morning Joe.”  Secretary Duncan articulated the problem about the need for “Critical Skills” in our future economy and the need for programs and policies to teach and assess those skills as students prepare for their turns at chasing the American Dream.

Hopefully, however, this time we might actually get somewhere.  There’s hope . . . at least I think there’s hope . . . . but, we’ve traveled down this path before.

In the next few posts, I’m going to focus on the world of Critical Skills as they apply to the Common Core Standards, and tell the story of how optimistic people were a generation ago, and how those hopes were dashed through a variety of actions which can only be described as being ill-informed or downright stupid.  Hopefully we won’t make these mistakes again – although from the wailing from some corners of the current debate, the detractors haven’t gone away – they’re just older and have apparently trained a new generation of similar thinkers opposed to progress at all costs.

I’ll go back to the early 1970’s with the publication of “A Nation at Risk.”  Then I’ll proceed through a torturous path of programs and dashed hopes to the present.  Maybe, with some luck and perhaps with some input from generous readers, we will come up with some lessons learned that hopefully will clear the path toward greater success this time.  Otherwise, I suppose we’ll have to wait until another generation comes along and arrives at the same conclusion that “Something Needs To Be Done” . . . and we’ll try it once more.

But, I have hope.  Stay tuned.

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