Ken Kay and Yong Zhao on Portrait of a Graduate

Key Points

  • Communities are global now. We must educate our students to be students of the world. 

  • Credentials must be student-driven in order to be effective and equitable.

This episode of the Getting Smart Podcast is sponsored by

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Tom Vander Ark is joined by Ken Kay, founder of Partnership for 21st Century Skills, leading advocate of the 4C’s and its successor EdLeader 21, and co-author of Redefining Student Success, featured on an August episode of the Getting Smart Podcast.

We are also joined by Dr. Yong Zhao, a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. He is also the author of the new book Learners Without Borders: New Learning Pathways for All Students.

Let’s listen in as they discuss Portrait of a Graduate, learning pathways and more. 

We confuse floor expectations as ceiling expectations–schools must cultivate students as citizens of a society and the globe

Yong Zhao


1 person who influenced your thinking

  • Ken, interviewed his grandson. “You gotta stay inside the lane they give you, but if you do that they give you a lot of freedom within that lane.”
    • Director of career academies in Akron
  • Yong said David Berliner (author of The Manufactured Crisis and collateral damage) 

2 insights from your work for edleaders 

  • Host community conversations and build agreements on updated learner goals.
  • Make sure grad requirements, postsecondary pathways respect individual ( jagged) profiles and ensure community connected learning.

1 additional insight 

  • Whatever we do, we should be expecting our own behaviors. We should always be thinking about “but what if we’re wrong?”
  • This is a moment of opportunity. COVID has shown us how wrong we already are. 

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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