Saturday, August 13, 2011

Creativity on the decline

University of Oregon educational psychologist Ron Beghetto observed the following about the effect NCLB and Race to the Top are having on America's students in a recent study on creativity

"The current focus on testing in schools, and the idea that there is only one right answer to a question, may be hampering development of creativity among kids. There's not much room for unexpected, novel, divergent thought."

What a sad commentary on the state of our schools, which seem to be rewarding regurgitated factology and uniform verbiage. And just what are the repercussions of this creative drain caused by the beauro-corporate testing squeeze? Research scientist Kyung Hee Kim of the College of William and Mary:

"If we just focus on just No Child Left Behind — testing, testing, testing — then how can creative students survive? If this trend continues then students who look different, nonconformists, will suffer, because they are not accepted."

We are a culture obsessed with being "right." We've got to get the right car and the right house in the right neighborhood. We need the right music and the right phone. We need the right dress and the right style and the right attitude.

Students need the right answer, with the right bubble filled in the right way in the right amount of time. Teachers need to be giving students the right (corporately sanctioned) education in the right (one-dimensional) way, with the right (jargon-filled, administrator-approved) agenda and the right (factual, memorizable, testable) skills in the right (curriculum-dictated) order on the right (scripted) day.

Well, maybe right now is the time to call an end to this nonsense.

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