The textbook -- either in hard copy or digital form -- no longer is necessary because of resources readily available online in the public domain, offers Colette Marie Bennett, the English department chair in her Connecticut district. Bennett also writes in this opinion article that textbooks are heavy, do not foster a love of reading and learning, and are not aligned with a 21st-century education. Bennett writes that teachers would be better served by compiling their own resources online.
A professor of education at Long Island University's C.W. Post campus says the arts are such an important part of education that they should be included in conversations about 21st-century schools. Joseph Piro suggests changing STEM -- which stands for science, technology, engineering and math -- to STEAM to include the arts.
If the U.S. does not create an education system that is capable of imparting 21st-century skills to learners, the country's economy and competitive standing in the world could suffer, says the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in a new report. "We need to recognize that a 21st-century education is the bedrock of competitiveness -- the engine, not simply an input, of the economy," the report states.
Teacher absences represent a cost for districts, which must hire substitutes, but students may pay a price as well in the form of diminished performance on exams, new research suggests. "What we are finding is what common sense would expect: that the more teachers are out before the test, the less well students perform," said Raegen T. Miller, the lead author of a paper produced by a team of Harvard University education researchers.
The decline of arts education limits children's development, collaborative work experiences and appreciation of differences, writes Stephanie Perrin, head of one of the oldest U.S. secondary schools for the arts. Most U.S. schools are still designed for a 19th-century economy, not the 21st-century world that requires risk-taking and creative thinking.