In response to a comment posted by Dan Callahan on October 3, 2008 in response to my October 2, 2008 blog post, "Is This Educational Malpractice?"
Dan, I'm so glad you zoomed in on my mention of "standards of practice" in my October 2, 2008 blog post "Is This Educational Malpractice?" I anticipated that readers might question the "accepted standard" caveat articulated in the definition of malpractice offered on FreeAdvice.com. You didn't let me down and I appreciate that! Thank you for reading my blog and for encouraging me to explain my position.
I would argue that the "standards" for 21st century teaching and learning are widely published and accepted at this time. For example:
1.) The International Society for Technology in Education updated the 2000 NETS.T in January 2008. The 2008 National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers detail and profile the internationally accepted standards for 21st century teaching. ISTE describes these standards as "a framework for educators to use as they transition schools from Industrial Age to Digital Age places of learning."
2.) In 2007, the American Association of School Librarians released the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner. These standards detail the skills, resources and tools that are crucial for students who will live and work in this century. According to AASL, the standards provide "a guide and beckon... to serve as a tool for library media specialists to use to shape the learning of students in the school."
3.) In 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007, the International Technology Education Association(ITEA) published the Standards for Technological Literacy. The intent of ITEA's standards is to help educators define and recognize quality technology instruction.
4.) The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, an advocacy group composed of education leaders (National Education Association and American Association of School Librarians), business leaders, community and government leaders published a powerful Framework for 21st Century Learning. To date, nine states have adopted the P21 Framework and are systematically working to infuse standards for 21st century teaching and learning in public schools.
5.) Every state in our nation has developed and implemented technology standards for students. In our nation, there is a statutory requirement that requires schools to ensure that students are technologically literate by the end of the 8th grade. The portion of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act known as 'Enhancing Education Through Technology Act of 2001' (E2T2) requires schools: To assist every student in crossing the digital divide by ensuring that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student's race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability.
I could go on and on with examples of “accepted standards” but I know you get the idea.
If you are arguing that the 21st century skills are not standard PRACTICE in U.S. public schools, I would wholeheartedly agree with you, and thank you for making my point. The "accepted standard" (and,I might add LAW, see #5 above) is not the accepted practice. Let me return to the medical malpractice definition and analogy. First, I admit, I’m no attorney, so I'm simplifying to make a point. If a physician notes a suspicious lesion and fails to evaluate the cause and follow an accepted standard in practice, the physician does harm to the patient. In a like manner, if an educator is aware of a pertinent educational need of students charged to their care - and fails to assess the need and implement an accepted "standard" of instructional practice, they do harm to the student. Let's look at it another way. What consequences might follow if an educator decided NOT to teach reading in his class? What if he ignored reading as an “accepted standard” of practice? I think we know the answer. The 21st Century skills are often compared to reading – as an essential life skill for students who will live and work in this century. How can educators NOT embrace the teaching of these skills with the same passion and vigor as they embrace the teaching of reading?
Let me make an important point that you bring to my attention. I am quick to praise our nation's educators who are doing an admirable job teaching many, many, many "standards." Our teachers are masters at TEACHING content. My October 2 post, however, is calling attention to a set of LEARNING skills and abilities that students will need for success in the 21st century. These skills include: constructing knowledge in modern contexts; practicing life skills through real-world problem-solving; experiencing creativity and testing innovation through relevant projects and activities; gathering, analyzing, creating and communicating information to audiences of peers throughout the world. The "accepted standards" for these skills, in IMHO, are not widely visible in contemporary classroom practice. My question remains, Dan. Is this educational malpractice?