The Need to Address Noncognitive Skills in the Education Policy Agenda of the Economic Policy Institute writes, “Despite noncognitive skills’ central roles in our education and, more broadly, our lives, education analysis and policy have tended to overlook their importance. Thus, there are currently few strategies to nurture them within the school context or through education policies. However, after a relatively prolonged lack of consideration, noncognitive skills are again beginning to be acknowledged in discussions about education, leading to the need for thoughtful and concerted attention from researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. This paper contends that noncognitive skills should be an explicit pillar of education policy. It contributes to the growing interest in these skills by reviewing what we know about noncognitive skills, including what they are, why they matter, and how they enter into the education process. We then extend the discussion by providing a tentative list of skills that are both important for and can be nurtured by schools. Contrasting what we know about noncognitive skills with how policy currently treats them, we contend that noncognitive skills deserve more attention in the education policy arena. Toward this end, we propose some guidelines for how to design education policies that better nurture them, and describe the kinds of research needed to inform policy and practice . . . Since noncognitive skills matter greatly and can be nurtured in schools, developing them should be an explicit goal of public education . . . Many of the existing disciplinary measures used to combat student misbehavior are at odds with the goal of nurturing noncognitive skills. Harsh measures—including in-school and out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and even arrests (often called, collectively, zero-tolerance policies)—are increasingly used to punish low-level infractions.”
The evidence is clear, we must provide every child in America with a developmentally appropriate, arts based, experiential education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing their individual gifts and talents so that every child is skilled non-cognitively and cognitively in order to become knowledgeable, concerned, actively engaged, proud citizens of these United States.
Our children deserve a better America.
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