With all the problems in the world today, how are we teaching our children to solve these problems they will face for the rest of their lives? Problem solving is learned. It is learned by students who consistently have the experience of art in their lives.
Problem solving is a function of creativity. There is a crisis of creativity in our country today, if not in the world. The only real advantage America has ever had is our ability to innovate. It is often called “Yankee ingenuity”. The creativity that is at the core of that ingenuity is being crushed by how we are teaching in our schools. By cutting funding for arts in our schools, we are stealing the tools for problem solving, and cutting off our childrens’ path to success.
While IQ scores are indisputably on the rise, American creativity levels are bottoming out. Analysis of the results of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking suggests that the creative abilities of American children have been spiraling downward for almost 20 years. The Torrance tests analyze young children’s ability to come up with original ideas and put them into practice. Dr. Kyung Hee Kim, an assistant professor at the College of William & Mary School of Education, found that scores on Torrance tests taken by children up to 6th grade between 1968 and 2008 showed a steady decline after 1990.
In “School Jazz” Dr. Kim discusses how that’s a serious issue at a time when creative thinking is among the most desperately needed skills in the American workplace. A recent study found that 85 percent of employers concerned with hiring creative people say they can’t find the right applicants. Kim blamed America’s standards-obsessed schools for creating an environment in which creative thinking was not nurtured. “Creative students cannot breathe, they are suffocated in school,” she said. “Then they become underachievers.”
This is reinforced by some of the other most noted creativity experts in the world. In the film “School Jazz” Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein says it succinctly “No art — no innovation.”
“School Jazz” presents the problem, offers data from experts to prove the point, then offers some solutions from noted international experts in creativity.