Very interesting post from Dangerously Irrelevant. One element that is missing is "why". What's the business case for 21st century learning?
- Why should a system (local, regional, federal) invest in such a thing?
- What are the socio-economic impacts that will be realized - not just cost?
- When will we see these results, and why should we do this now (vs. investing $ in health care, the homeless, or any other social priority)?
I don't believe the answers can be assumed because they're so obvious to those of us that care about education. The reasons are equally obvious for a drug addict that would like the state to provide more rehab beds, or a homeless person seeking more shelter spaces, or a community seeking better roads, etc. <-- And would you pick (for the short-term politician's mind) one of these, or 21st century education?
In addition to Dangerously Irrelevant's work above, we must create a model that demonstrates the net economic value of learning to society, and show that the value to society of investing in education is much higher than that of any other investment in the long run.
- Evidence that students who have 21st century skills are more valued (and hence receive higher wages) by prospective employers, thus contributing to local economies.
- Related to this would be evidence that these individuals are in demand over and above lower-cost alternatives (i.e. lower risk of outsourcing because they are not a commodity asset).
- Proof that it costs less over time (say 3 years) and across the whole system (schools, content, community centers, parents, etc.) to incorporate ICT (information/communication technology) to educate students than otherwise.
- Show that with significant percentages of educators in K-12 retiring in the next five years (estimated at 40% of all teachers in Oregon for example), there is an opportunity to bring about change in Teachers' Colleges that will reach students for many years to come (potentially a very economical way to create scaled outcomes).
- The impact and role of ICT in creating more globally-aware (through both knowledge and e-connections) community by building bridges between institutions, educators, classrooms and students.
These are just some elements that we'd need to incorporate in the business case. To create a sustainable and defensible rationale for politicians to invest in Education, the numbers must be bulletproof and so profoundly compelling that EVERYONE agrees that the investment is mandatory.