In another step toward implementing new education standards, California joined a multi-state partnership Monday with resources to help teachers.

California will be at least the 19th member of Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group that provides guidance for schools to equip students with knowledge and skills they'll need for college and career.

"California is part of a growing national movement to teach students the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need for college and careers," California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson said in a statement. "Forging a partnership with P21 provides California with additional tools and resources to implement the Common Core State Standards and our newly revised Career Technical Education Standards. This partnership underscores our commitment to prepare every student for the challenges of a changing world."

The Partnership, which was launched with the help of multi-national corporations such as Apple Computers Inc. and Cisco Systems, has been pushing for more than a decade to teach students what it calls "21st century readiness skills," by integrating the "4Cs" into all classes.

The 4 C's stand for:
· Critical thinking and problem solving
· Communication
· Collaboration
· Creativity and innovation.

The common core standards, developed with heavy input from the private sector, will require students to be more independent in problem-solving and critical thinking.


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Since California is still behind curriculum and materials teachers can use for classes once Common Core goes into effect, the partnership is welcome news.

"It's very exciting to have a resource place," said Ani Silva, director of curriculum and special projects at Pacific Grove Unified School District. "California educators — really, in the entire country — need all the assistance we can get. Right now we don't even have curriculum that's state adopted and that provides instruction (assistance) for classroom teachers. This is one area we're lacking, and it is true for all educators in state of California."

Kari Yeater, superintendent of the North Monterey County Unified School District, has already been informing her district's transition to the Common Core with information from Partnership, a tool she's found useful.

It's a good site not just to learn "about the curriculum but to apply to learning in a particular way," Yeater said. "The shift from the (current standards) to Common Core is how to apply learning, and it starts in kindergarten. It's a real shift on how teachers have to plan to incorporate all skill sets."

Torlakson also recently announced major updates to California's career technical education, which now lay out 59 pathways to graduating ready for careers and college in 15 industry sectors. Torlakson has made "career readiness" one of the most important projects of his tenure in office.

Claudia Meléndez Salinas can be reached at 753-6755 or cmelendez@montereyherald.com.


Learn more

·For more information on the Partnership, go to http://www.p21.org