The New Untouchables

In Thomas Friedman’s article, “The New Untouchables,” he identifies the qualities of 21st century workers that are indispensable to our global marketplace. Schools, which focus traditionally on analytical skills, will also need to emphasize the skills which employers will both demand and reward. Analytical skills, according to Daniel Pink, can be outsourced, but other skills such as thinking critically and creatively to solve problems and produce new opportunities, work effectively with people from different backgrounds and cultures, and have vision for possibilities, cannot be outsourced. It’s time that educators and parents at all levels ask:

  • How are we promoting creative opportunities for students to produce real results?
  • How are we showing role models of people who have these skills in the world outside of school?
  • What kinds of teachers are versatile enough for both/and—the solid base of analytical skills with the platform to solve some of the world’s greatest problems?
  • What experiences are students having in class and out to expose them to the world outside their comfort zone?
  • What risks and failures are providing opportunities for strength and future perspective?

New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman
Last summer I attended a talk by Michelle Rhee, the dynamic chancellor of public schools in Washington. Just before the session began, a man came up, introduced himself as Todd Martin and whispered to me that what Rhee was about to speak about — our struggling public schools — was actually a critical, but unspoken, reason for the Great Recession.

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