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Overview of State Leadership Initiative

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Since 2002, P21 has been working with states and communities toreinvigorate learning to ensure 21st century readiness for every student. Based on this work, P21 believes there are seven strategies for a successful statewide initiative:

  1. High-profile leadership: State leaders at the highest level, including the governor, chief state school officer, legislators, educators, business leaders and influential citizens, must make the case for 21st century readiness.
  2. Broad consensus and a shared vision: States should create an active coalition of business, education, non-profit and community organizations, and parents to develop broad consensus and a shared vision on how to fuse the 3Rs and 4Cs.
  3. Ongoing professional development: States should support administrators and teachers with ongoing professional development.
  4. Fuse the 3Rs and 4Cs: As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, our education system must keep up. Many states allow students to earn a high school diploma with eighth or tenth grade knowledge and skills (or less). Higher standards are essential.
  5. 21st century assessments: There is a growing, worldwide interest in creating modern assessments. In 2005, P21 released Assessment of 21st Century Skills: A Landscape, a thorough survey of international efforts to modernize assessments. We are currently working on spurring research and development of next level assessments of 21st century skills. 
  6. An effective communications strategy: Planning and implementing a successful statewide initiative requires a multi-faceted effort and collaboration among many constituencies.
  7. An aggressive implementation strategy: In every state, some schools and educators are prioritizing 21st century readiness for every student. States should showcase existing models of success for others to learn from and build on; they should also reach out to potential partners.

P21 Leadership States design new standards, assessments, and professional development programs that ensure 21st century readiness for every student. To become a P21 Leadership State, a state demonstrates commitment from the governor and chief state school officer, and submits an application to P21 that describes the state’s plan to fuse the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation) within standards, assessments and professional development programs.