Emphasize Higher-Order Skills

The global labor market is shifting away from manufacturing jobs to work that requires both technical knowledge and interpersonal skills. Traditional educational models are not fully equipping us with higher-order skills—the capabilities needed for the 21st century workplace.

Higher-order skills are best described by the WEF global framework, which consists of three key areas: foundational literacies, competencies, and character qualities.

If we expand the content of education to include foundational literacies as well as “soft” competencies and character qualities—such as grit, curiosity, and the ability to solve problems—then we will have the comprehensive skill set needed to meet the demands of the new world.

Emerging Model: Summit Schools

Summit is a network of 11 charter schools in California and Washington, serving more than 2,000 students and preparing them for success by focusing on building skills for the future. The schools have dedicated time each week for foundational literacies, such as history, science, math, and English. Students also engage in project learning at the start of every day, which teaches them critical-thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. In daily interactions with peers, mentors, teachers, and community partners, students also build social and cultural awareness.