Congress Launches 21st Century Skills Caucus

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Rep. Petri, Rep. Loebsack and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Hosted Initial Caucus Briefing to Discuss Civics Education in the 21st Century; New Platform for Thought Leaders and Advocates to Advise Congress on the Importance of 21st Century Skills.

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Rep. Petri speaks at the launch of the Congressional 21st Century Skills Caucus.

Our nation’s workforce needs students to be fully equipped with proficiencies beyond the basics of reading, writing and math.

Rep. Thomas Petri (R-WI) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) formed the bipartisan Congressional 21st Century Skills Caucus to provide a platform and ongoing forum that allows thought leaders, advocates, practitioners and organizations from the public and private sectors to brief Congress about the importance of 21st century skills toward readiness for college, career and life for every student.

Working with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the Caucus seeks to provide opportunities to host leading subject matter experts and model practitioners to speak and demonstrate to policymakers the importance of 21st century skills and the many ways they take shape in student preparedness.

“As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, we need to help our education system ensure students have both the right knowledge and skills to meet this challenge,” said Rep. Loebsack.

“Our nation’s workforce needs students to be fully equipped with proficiencies beyond the basics of reading, writing and math,” said Rep. Petri. “21st century skills are becoming increasingly more important today for all students to be college and career ready – and to be ready to participate in our democracy.”

The Caucus held its first briefing in September focused on citizenship, ahead of the fall elections. Participants discussed how we can better prepare students to be savvy, engaged and effective citizens in today's world.

“We need to be doing 21st century civics education. It’s a new world, a new economy and we have new ways of engaging with neighbors, people and government. It’s past time we revamped civics education,” said Frank Gallagher, board chair, Partnership for 21st Century Skills. “Civics offer a great opportunity to practice the Four C’s of 21st century skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.”

Participants discussed building a foundation for successful civic knowledge, engagement, participation and education. The effects of media, social media and other new means of communications, as well as the effects of our global connections and reliance on constantly evolving technologies, create new challenges to effectively participating in our democracy.

“So what is expected of the citizen of the 21st century and how do we reconfigure civic education so that we equip each and every one of our students with the knowledge and skills to be engaged, effective citizens, able to protect, preserve and prolong this great country, and make it prosper?” asked Gallagher. “It’s not the memorization of facts. It’s not knowing the qualifications of being a Senator. It’s not the steps to make a bill become a law. It’s going to take critical thinking, problem solving skills and the ability to think creatively and work collaboratively with others – basic 21st century skills.”

For more information about the Caucus, visit

About P21: P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the 3Rs and 4Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.

P21 Members: Apple Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Cengage Learning, Cisco Systems, Inc., The College Board's Advanced Placement Program (AP), Crayola, EdLeader21, EF Education, Education Networks of America, Follett School & Library Group, Ford Motor Company Fund, Goddard Systems Inc., Intel Corporation, LEGO Group, National Education Association, Pearson Foundation, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, VIF International Education, The Walt Disney Company and Wireless Generation.

P21 Leadership States: Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

P21 Contact: Alan Knapp, aknapp(at)p21(dot)org, (202) 312-6429

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