Does our century not need women as eloquent as Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen, men as resourceful and civic-minded as Aeneas and Benjamin Franklin, creative forces like Beethoven and Da Vinci, men and women with the wisdom of a Jesus or Socrates? … Would we reject a young person applying for a job or college today if he had the political acumen of James Madison, the integrity of Abraham Lincoln, the passion and commitment of Jane Goodall?
Hm… so… “eloqence,” “resourceful,” “civic-minded,” “creative,” “wise,” “political acumen,” “integrity,” “passion,” “commitment.” About half of those are variations on the “21st Century Skills” as officially defined. The rest address “skills” that are traditionally seen as the goals of education for citizenship in a democracy, and the values of a moral education.
Instead of making this a bipolar struggle between “skills” and “content,” P21 could be framed as an updated, but somewhat corrupted, sub-set of the traditional goals of a liberal education, goals that are, I gather, shared by Core Knowledge, et al.