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The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) was founded in 2002 as a coalition bringing together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to position 21st century readiness at the center of US K-12 education and to kick-start a national conversation on the importance of 21st century skills for all students.  The following organizations and individuals were instrumental in founding P21:


  • U.S. Department of Education

Founding Organizations:

  • AOL Time Warner Foundation
  • Apple Computer, Inc.
  • Cable in the Classroom
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Dell Computer Corporation
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • National Education Association
  • SAP


  • Ken Kay, President and Co-Founder
  • Diny Golder-Dardis, Special Advisor and Co-Founder

    Relevant for Today's and Tomorrow's World

    Over the past decade the P21 message and the organization has evolved.  P21’s position as a thought leader for 21st century readiness has allowed the organization to continuously build a coalition of like-minded organizations – including non-profit, foundation, and corporate members.  This broad coalition of members provides strength and vision for the 21st Century Skills Movement.

    P21 Members play an active and crucial role in guiding policy and activities on 21st century readiness for every student. Every member reinforces the mission of P21 and our ability to enact change on the local, federal, and state level to shift the conversation for kids and ensure they’re ready to lead and take on the challenges of the 21st century.  

    The Framework for 21st Century Learning

    P21 has identified and brought to the forefront a comprehensive set of skills that, along with content mastery, are what all sectors can agree are essential for success. The P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning took several years to develop, and it has been enhanced by resources such as the 21st Century Skills Maps that have been developed in collaboration with hundreds of educators who have shown how to integrate 21st Century Skills within their disciplines such as English, mathematics, science, geography, social studies, world languages and the arts.  P21 has achieved success demonstrated by our growing list of leadership states and expanded membership.  Additionally, the Framework for 21st Century Learning has widely become the recognized model for infusing 21st century skills into the curriculum.  There are hundreds of educational agencies and organizations who have adopted the P21 Framework, either formally or informally, to guide their learning communities and are embedding 21st century skills in curriculum and professional development.

    From Aspiration to Alarm Bell:

    Our work presents an ongoing challenge.  When P21 began a decade ago the name 21st Century Skills was aspirational.  Yet rapid changes in technology and the globalization of the world’s economy have ensured that we need to do a better job of educating all our students in order to prepare them for success. 21st Century Skills are no longer just for the top tier, or just for those students headed to college, but essential for all students. 

    As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, 21st Century Skills have built up a resonance and a movement to represent an alarm bell, reminding us that the time is now for us to ensure that all students master these vital skills. 

    P21 and members continue to advocate for 21st  century skills learning for all students because it is the right thing to do for our students, our economy, and our democracy.  P21 will continue to form collaborative partnerships with innovators at the state, federal, and local level in business, education, and communities at large to ensure that all students are ready to succeed in college, career and life in the 21st century.