Do Schools Kill Creativity

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Lindsey Claire Galt
Dr. Lee March
American Government
October 3, 2012

Do Schools Kill Creativity?
If you search almost anywhere on the internet about creativity and public schools you will run into a video by a man named Sir Ken Robinson. He emphasizes that schools kill creativity in every way. On the other hand, President Barack Obama disagrees whole heartedly. Both of these men agree that creativity is important to children and schools but they disagree on whether or not creativity is being implemented in schools. Robinson stated in his lectured at TED 2006, “I believe this passionately, that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it” (Ken Robinson. TED2006). He goes to say that education is the same all around the world and everyone puts emphasis on the same subjects. “At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts” (Robinson). Schools are so focused on standardized test scores and core subjects that the arts are left behind. There is also a common belief that as school budgets are cut the first things to go are the arts. One thing many agree on is that creativity is a very important factor in a child life and must flourish for the child to become successful. Obama believes the opposite of what Ken Robinson believes is occurring, saying that schools are taking a great initiative to bring back creativity to our public schools. In a speech at Benjamin Banneker High School in 2011, President Obama told students, “You’ve got to wonder. You’ve got to question. You’ve got to explore. And every once in a while, you need to color outside the lines” (Barack Obama. “Back-to-School Speech”). Several states, have instated a “Creativity Index” which instead of just telling the state school’s standardized test scores will tell “how effective it is at “teaching, encouraging and fostering creativity in students”” (Philip Petrov. “Measuring Creativity in the Public Schools”). When discussing creativity in the public school system, one person’s opinion can drastically differ from another. Most can agree that creativity has been pushed aside in favor of the sciences and mathematics in the past. Two main opinions that most people share are school kill creativity or creativity is beginning to blossom in public schools. Ken Robinson’s opinion is widely accepted and discussed. Some universities even use his video as a basis for a course. Robinson states that the purpose of public education is to “produce university professors” and as children get older schools focus more on one side of the brain, the left. He says that the whole reason for public education being created was to “meet the needs of industrialism”, now “the whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance”. The problem with this, according to Robison, is that because schools focus on core subjects, students that are very creative “think they’re not, because the thing that they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or actually stigmatized”. Also, over the years degrees have become less valuable. Where once a BA was required, now a MA is required and it becomes a lot harder to get a job. The difficulty of finding a job discourages students from achieving those degrees (Robinson. TED2006). A lot of people believe that school these days is strictly focused on standardized testing. These tests are so standardized that it makes it hard for children that don’t fit the mold to pass. This causes schools to lose money for more creative endeavors and children to think that they are inadequate. Mark LeShay believes that schools are “systematically eliminating creativity, the very thinking that we now find ourselves in shortage of to solve healthcare issues and to reset global policy”. Businesses are working hard to hire and create employees that are creative while schools are teaching children the opposite. Our country needs people to think...
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