Friday, July 23, 2010

America's Kids Loosing International Creative Edge

The United States Will Stop Being a Culture of Innovation and Implementation-- 
Innovation Being Key to Success-- 
If Our Young People Do Not Develop Creative and Critical Thinking Skills! 

“It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William and Mary says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is“most serious.”

From a recent article in Newsweek Magazine, "The Creativity Crisis"  by  Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

"The potential consequences are sweeping. The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future. Yet it’s not just about sustaining our nation’s economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.

It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.

Around the world, though, other countries are making creativity development a national priority. In 2008 British secondary-school curricula—from science to foreign language—was revamped to emphasize idea generation, and pilot programs have begun using Torrance’s test to assess their progress. The European Union designated 2009 as the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, holding conferences on the neuroscience of creativity, financing teacher training, and instituting problem-based learning programs—curricula driven by real-world inquiry—for both children and adults. In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. Instead, Chinese schools are also adopting a problem-based learning approach."

Listen to a discussion about this topic on NPR at:

The NCBLA has long asserted that young people must study literature, the humanities, and the arts at all levels of their educational experience, that such a liberal arts education is essential to developing creative and critical thinking skills.  Encouraging young people to read great stories, to write, to draw and paint, to play music,to perform, to play outdoors, is also essential in developing young people's creativity and imagination. Consider this: the upper social and education strata of our nation pays exorbitant tuition fees in order for their children to receive private school educations that feature an arts and humanities approach to education, yet in our nation's public schools, government and business interests are driving the arts and humanities out of our public education system. Do not our nation's public school children deserve the same exposure to literature, the arts, and humanities as children in elite private schools? The NCBLA believes that literacy, literature, the humanities, and the arts are not educational "extras;" they are life necessities--especially if we are to have the socioeconomic culture of both innovation and implementation that America needs to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.

Go to:

The photo illustration above is of children looking at illustrations from the book Curious George at an exhibition of the work of Margaret and H. A. Ray at the Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, New York on exhibet until August 1, 2010. Lean more about the exhibet at: