This omission is not surprising. Out of 8 lists of 21st century skills, from the likes of the Center for Public Education, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Tony Wagner and his "Survival Skills", Pat Bassett and his 6 Cs, and NAIS's published paper on Schools of the Future competencies, ethics was mentioned in only four. Remove the two NAIS sources, and the number dwindles to two. When it comes to Schools of the Future competencies, ethics and character building has been relegated to second tier.
Is this a smart move in a world where online communication and its potential for anonymity creates new spaces for discrimination and bullying? At yesterday's workshop, the backchannel discussion projected on a large screen for all to see included the following statement ...
"I think anonymous public posting (like this) is the bane of civil democracy."
An oft-repeated chorus in education is the idea that since we don't know what the civil democracy of the future will look like, how can we prepare our students to succeed in it? To me, the answer is clear. If we create curricula that are rooted in integrity and include specific instruction on character building elements such as respectful communication and disagreement, our students will have the training to navigate whatever future situations they encounter with civility.