Actions for Impact
There is a strong rationale for focusing on 21st century skills for students with disabilities, as well as practices that contribute to the development of these skills—also considering past institutional inequalities that were common to previous educational reform efforts. However, shifts in practice can’t be realized without action from local, state, and national policymakers. The time to take those actions is now.
The following actions for impact are based on the actions and steps identified through conversations with educators, experts, and policy leaders.
ACTION: Decision makers at the federal, state, local, and school level must set expectations and goals for all learners to achieve the full range of knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to engage in educational transfer: the capacity to take understanding and skills developed in one context and apply it to a separate unique context or problem.
ACTION: Assessment, accountability, and school improvement systems should include multiple measures of achievement that gauge students’ 21st century learning success, measure the capacity and effectiveness of those who serve them, provide a clear picture of how groups of students are performing, and be well understood by stakeholders including students, families, educators, employers, and community members.
ACTION: In-school and out-of-school time should be leveraged strategically to facilitate high-quality 21st century learning experiences for students and collaboration among educators, including for academic credit. The experiences should be equally rigorous and equally available for all students.
ACTION: High-quality preparation, clinical practice, and training opportunities should be provided to school leaders, educators, and educational staff to help them effectively implement inclusive 21st century learning practices.
ACTION: Resources (including but not limited to time, money, and high-quality, effective staffing) should be dedicated to implementing inclusive and systemic 21st century learning, including resources to facilitate accommodations for—and inclusion of—students with disabilities.
ACTION: A clear, transparent, and inclusive process for ongoing stakeholder engagement should be implemented to ensure that students with disabilities, other traditionally disadvantaged groups, and their families and communities are fully and regularly engaged in the conception, implementation, and evaluation of 21st century learning approaches.
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