For over a decade we’ve been hearing about so-called “21st century skills,” including collaboration, communication, and creativity. These are all wonderful, but they’re nothing new; they’re timeless abilities that have propelled culture and civilization over many millennia.

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Just as we find these skills in the past, so must we bring them to the future. A child born today may live into the 22nd century. Isn’t it time to start thinking about how we’ll get there?

We live in an era of global upheaval with environmental, economic and social challenges that will follow our children and grandchildren beyond the year 2100. Will schools sidestep this, or will education create a hopeful future: one where communities thrive, the environment is healthy, history matters, and the economy provides opportunities for all.

The good news is that the seeds of change are taking root. The change is nourished by transdisciplinary thinking that emphasizes (wait for it . . . ) collaboration, communication, and creativity—all in the service of solving shared 21st and 22nd century problems.

Each student’s life is a story yet to be written, and we must give each child not only knowledge and skills, but also hope. Curriculum has the power to help youth become the authors of success for themselves, their families and communities. This solution-oriented learning is especially crucial for students of color and those in poverty—students too often impacted by environmental and social problems, while also receiving the low-quality education that reproduces these inequalities.

I’m passionate about improving the quality of education as a way to improve the quality of life for people and their communities, near and far. It’s to give kids the best skills, past and present, so they can shape their future. It’s what every child deserves.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing strategies teachers say are working in their classrooms and building the skills, hope, and agency kids need to write the story they want. I hope you’ll join the conversation.

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