Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child

21st Century Education and 21st Century Citizenship

By Tatyana Warrick, for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21)

What do students need to know and do to be able to thrive in the 21st century? This is the question that P21 has been working in concert with business, education leaders, and policymakers to answer over the last 10 years. Turns out, the skills that students need to succeed in college and workplace – a.k.a. to be college & career ready – are the same ones they need to be 21st century citizens.

Just as the world of work has changed, with the advent of technology and globalization, so has the nature of citizenship. The challenges of being a responsible, effective citizen are more diverse, nuanced and complex than they have been before. Because of this, our understanding of what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century needs to be expanded. Public schools have always played an important part of shaping tomorrow's citizens and safeguarding the ideals of our democracy. That responsibility is just as vital today. In fact, as we discuss standards, assessments and teaching practices, we can't forget that our educators also carry with them the responsibility to impart to students what it means to be a citizen of this nation, this world and online.

Our understanding of readiness for the 21st century must include college, career AND citizenship – because each one is equally important to ensuring and shaping a future where our economy is strong, our democracy remains vibrant, and quality of life is improved by innovative solutions to the complex problems of today's world. The world today's students will inhabit will continue to be increasingly digital, interconnected and interdependent.

P21 has taken on a collaborative initiative to help define this new vision for citizenship in the 21st century and to work with others in the field to create helpful resources to communicate this vision to the education community and beyond.

Released last year, Reimagining Citizenship for the 21st Century report (produced with the financial support of the Hewlett Foundation) outlines the practices and dimensions of citizenship today, within the context of 21st century learning.

This new model, with the interconnecting aspects of civic literacy, digital citizenship and global engagement, provides a kickstart to the important conversation of how we can help schools and communities make 21st century citizenship a reality for all students. In addition to outlining the new vision for 21st century citizenship, the report also provides examples of promising practices of 21st century citizenship in and out of school, and recommendations for policymakers and educators.

Many P21 members, educational experts in civic learning and other partners have contributed to this work and will be providing their take on the different facets of 21st century citizenship, and how they interconnect throughout a very special blog series.

Our brand new 21st Century Citizenship Blogazine issue will provide direct examples of digital citizenship and global awareness in action – and how they are re-shaping our understanding of citizenship for students, communities and the world at large. We are honored and excited to be bringing the civic learning, the digital learning and the global learning communities together for this very important conversation and as we work to develop toolkits and tip sheets for parents, school board members and others in helping to navigate the complex waters of citizenship readiness. We hope you join us for this critical conversation as we explore and redefine the meaning of citizenship in the 21st century.

Tatyana Warrick manages public outreach and media relations for P21, including the P21 Speakers Bureau, P21's publication library, website, and social media, among the numerous hats she wears as P21's Communications Manager. She is an active participant on the P21 21st Century Citizenship Task Force.

First published on the Partnership for 21st Century Skills blog. Reposted with permission. View the original post here.

Image via the Partnership for 21st Century Skills