Monday, July 18, 2011

Are We Able to Keep Creativity in the Curriculum?

The Sunday news blogs were rife for the continuing pressures and controversies of state governments slashing funding to public education. As we have inferred in earlier blogs, it is easier to slash education than other pet projects and initiatives that can return votes for our politicians. But in the end, the real danger is seen in how many of our schools are cutting back on programs to provide quality education experiences for our students. After battling another terrible year of budget cuts and reducing the work force in our schools, to hear this frustrates the intentions of all the people actively involved in saving education.
Over the past few months my school district has been engaged in developing a sister-school relationship with a district in China. From our meetings and preliminary contacts and discussions it is apparent the Chinese are interested in how we as Americans educate our children in being creative and innovating. I was taken aback with this inquiry until I discovered that they were earnest in wanting to know what we do to inspire innovation. They feel that the regimented educational structures in China prevent such things from happening more readily.
Considering how this investigation by Chinese educators occurred and placing it in the context of everything happening economically to our schools, I begin to question if  these ideas of creativity and innovation will be lost once our politicians get their way in fermenting a 19th Century system on our schools of tomorrow. As we gear up our schools to engage more testing and evaluation, the Chinese are letting up on such needs. Is there something odd about this turn of events?
In an excellent opinion piece by Michael Roth in the Huffington Post, he acknowledges the struggle is creating an abyss of opposition against the desires of our founding fathers that sought education as a primary right for each and every person in this country. I believe it is important we uphold those values always:
“As we wrestle with notions of "shared sacrifice" and "living within our means," let us not ignore our responsibility to invest in the future by supporting education. We must not allow our representatives to protect tax breaks for the most advantaged while ignoring our responsibility to give the next generation the education they need. Only education will allow the youngsters …across the country to protect their freedoms while competing in the world. Only by supporting their right to learn, will we have the chance to strengthen our country's economic, political and cultural future. As Jefferson said: "Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people." "No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness."[1]

[1] Roth,M. (July 11, 2011). “Preach a Crusade Against Ignorance”—Don’t Sacrifice the Future! Huffington Post.  Retrieved July 18, 2011 at