Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Creative Solution for a Rich Education

We have become a "performance-driven" education society. This can be seen by the number of tests, exams, assessments, and portfolio required materials that are gathered in the lifetime of every child entering school. My 11 month old granddaughter will be entering this culture in a few years, and it scares me to think of this beautiful little girl, with the excitement and natural enthusiasm of learning in every step she takes, being sat in a desk and chair taking a fill the dot, scantron test sheet to determine if she will graduate from first grade.

But that is the culture that she will walk into someday, unless changes occur sooner rather than later.

In recent months, we've seen New Jersey Governor Chris Christie embroiled in many issues that threaten his ability to continue serving his great state. Leaving those issues for others to ferret out the truth, I came across an interesting criticism of his education ideas. In an interesting read from the Huffington Post Education blog you will note:  
"He [Christie] assumes, as many school districts and policymakers have long mistakenly held, that more is better -- that more time in school equals more learning. I've found no compelling research that supports the proposition that a longer school day improves educational outcomes. 
Students who are engaged, curious, involved and passionate about what's happening in their classrooms learn more. But keeping today's unengaged, over-tested students in the classroom longer? That won't necessarily fix anything, and it may make the problems New Jersey is facing worse. If we really want to improve education, we need to reinvent the school day before we talk about making it longer.
Where are creativity, innovation and passion supposed to emerge in such a rigid routine? This is not what life looks like in the real world -- only in school.
There is, however, plenty of research that shows what does help our kids in the long run: a rich curriculum that includes arts and physical education, time for play and rest, and adequate sleep, just to name a few. These essential ingredients are too often undervalued by our performance-driven education system

Abeles, V. (2014, January 21). Why Christie's school 'fix' is misguided. Huffington Post Education. [Blog]. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/BCtJJl

Kudos to this writer for saying the obvious. Enriching the curriculum and getting creative with educational experiences. Here's hoping for the future!