How America’s Education Model Kills Creativity and Entrepreneurship

from Forbes

The current model of education in the United States is stifling the creative soul of our children. While this is troubling for a variety of reasons, it also has significant economic consequences for the future of our country. America has long been unique because of its remarkable ingenuity, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial spirit. Yet over the last few decades, we have witnessed both a steady decline in the number of startups, as well as an increasing number of studies that suggest America’s education model fails to promote the kind of creativity, risk-taking, and problem solving skills necessary for entrepreneurship, and for a world and labor market that is in the midst of profound transformation. These are very worrisome trends.

According to research conducted by Kyung Hee Kim, Professor of Education at the College of William and Mary, all aspects of student creativity at the K-12 level have been in significant decline for the last few decades. Based on scores from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, her study reveals “that children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.” That is depressing.

More here.

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67 Responses to How America’s Education Model Kills Creativity and Entrepreneurship

  1. Li You January 29, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

    In this article said “that children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.” Why caused children become to the machine? I think it because today’s society always like to put the children in all sorts of rules. Most of the time either the teacher or parents like to arrange all the daily life of the child. And now more cases of education mode, which is to go through a series of tests and quizzes. Rather than go to education you access to various thinking. And now there are a lot of parents don’t trust or doesn’t allow children to do something by themselves. Which thing may have some risk in it. But if you don’t let them to do. How can children learned. Parents also can’t be able to accompany for their children’s whole lifetime. And also can’t help them to arrange their whole life right? Because of now the mode of education for the children, which is bring too much bound. Children‘s innovative and creative ability will be completely tied down. Led to a lot of children have defects in character. And the lack of innovation ability.

    Compared with China, I think the American education system is not so bad. In China you not only have a mountain of homework. And you also have a lot of extracurricular classes, which are too much and you can’t image. You also have too much exam. As for the result that should be the standard to judge you are a good boy or not. Even sometimes in order to let you learn more knowledge of the so-called. They can deprive the only thing you relaxed and enjoyed the physical education class. Except the academic classes you very rare can have another types of lessons can be complete in a semester. So there are a lot of problems in the current education system. I think all countries have also been aware of this problem. Hope to be able to solve this problem as soon as possible. In the future, our society can have more children are happy, sunshine and have creative ability.

  2. Kiana Dixon February 11, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    Choosing this article it allows me to learn more about children and they way they operate in this generation and why that is. Working with children everyday all they have is creativity beginning at the ages of kindergarten through second grade. However in my experience, when they enter the third grade and are put with the older kids a bigger responsibility is put on them when it comes to education and also socially. In the article it describes how children have started to become less and less creative and socially expressive which it quite depressing, and I totally agree. Children make the world go round no matter how bothersome they can be at times. Ever since we have entered professor Shannon’s class, he has noted that the education system has brainwashed us with memorization and has not really taught us how to learn and think; just as mentioned in the article as well, “we stigmatize mistakes,” and the result “is that we’re educating people out of their creative capacities” and destroying children’s natural willingness to take chances”. Without taking chances of being wrong makes it harder for one to know if they are ever right. Having these systems take over a child’s mind concludes how the future will continue to decline in innovation. Because technology is becoming more prominent in the 21st century the modernization of their generation will not be any different if those education systems are continued to be promoted. Not saying that all the main courses of the system need to be diminished but perhaps adding more creative classes and also adding new ways of learning that does not always require reading and writing, but exercises for the mind that help one think further than they should.
    Introducing those methods into the education systems could help enormously and the brain of an entrepreneur is created once again.The purpose of the article is to inform others to let not only children but also people fail before they succeed because that is usually how one becomes better and also great. I think having the Steve Jobs comment in the article really helps further the argument because since he was so great it is always endearing to hear one’s thoughts and theory of being great. Which is what we can have in not only all children in the future but also us today if we stop worrying about being wrong or failing.

  3. VM February 12, 2016 at 12:01 am #

    I’m very happy to see an article of this nature. I believe it to be extremely crucial for today’s society to understand how big of a problem this is. Children nowadays are merely being forced to go through the motions. All of the things they love about learning and being independent and creative are being taken from them, in most cases. The style of learning in the school systems are becoming somewhat robotic and repetative. Children are being forced to hit targets so their educators or their institutions look good, but what about them?
    As this article states, “The current model of education in the United States is stifling the creative soul of our children.” And then goes on to state how much this is impacting the economy, which is very true. The bashing of the creative process in the young minds of our society is only negatively affecting our economy, as well as its future. These children are the future and if they’re not free to create and think on an individual level our economy will fail right along with them. The article talks about how children are afraid to fail. They’re being taught not to fail which should not be a thing. Failure is part of the process. It later discusses how in reality it should be the opposite of this.
    I witness this first hand in my eight year old cousin. She is currently learning math the common core way. When I was in grade school this was never a learning method. Teachers taught us how to do problems multiple ways and then they always suggested we used the method that worked best for US. Today children are being told what is right and what is wrong, and if they deviate, whether they achieve the correct answer or not, they are wrong. This is irritating and frustrating. I think that in a system like this all children will be the same, leading to adults all being the same. There will not be those few standouts who can create things by thinking outside of the box because they will have always been taught to think inside the box. That’s crippling to think about in my opinion because this will lead to the development of nothing for our future. Children shouldn’t be taught that failure is a bad thing, they should be taught to fail forward. Fail and then try again. Without failure there isn’t any learning and without any learning, there is no future for our economy or world.

  4. John Ferry February 12, 2016 at 9:24 am #

    “The current model of education in the United States is stifling the creative soul of our children.” I could not agree with this quote more. Creativity in schools is a subject that I have been thinking about for a long time, and I do agree that kids need to learn to “fail fast, and fail often”. Creativity is an essential skill because it teaches you not only to think outside of the box but to think for yourself. So much of K-12 education is just following directions. “Complete problems one through ten by tomorrow. If they are not exactly as they are in the answer key in my book than they are wrong.” Almost every single assignment is presented to students with some variation of that phrase. To some extent, this is important. Successfully following directions and answering questions shows that a student can listen, have attention to detail, and comprehend information. All of these skills are essential, but as the article stated, we lose a lot when the extent of education ends there. If education ends there, then we are basically encouraging the transformation of students from human to robot. This kind of education is a science; do a, then b, get c. You plug in the code, and you get the result. The ART of education needs to come back, because in life, doing a, then b, doesn’t always give you c. You need to be able to think outside the box because the world is unpredictable.
    Students also need to learn to think outside the box because there is more competition now than there ever has been with the rise of technology and social media. It’s interesting because, in theory, everyone should be able to stand out naturally because every single person is different. There never was, is, or ever will be another you or me. However, when our creativity diminishes, so does our individuality. When we are afraid to be creative, it’s because we are afraid to fail. When we’re afraid to fail, then that means that we end up resenting the thought of being judged by others. When we’re afraid of judgment, then we become afraid to be ourselves. Unfortunately, for many of us, this ends up being the case. Even though every single one of us is still special, we become hesitant to express it out of fear of being rejected. This shows that creativity is imperative not only because it enables us to think critically, but also because it gives us the confidence to be ourselves.
    The only portion of this article that I slightly disagree with is the idea that we need to train students to be entrepreneurs. I agree with the idea that children need to be taught to be individuals, fearless, and creative. However, I don’t think it’s a good idea for every student to go through CEO/founder/leadership training. I think it’s more important to teach students about teamwork, and the different roles people play in a team. Theoretically, if everyone becomes a leader, then there really isn’t a chance of a team functioning well because everyone would be so busy trying to lead. Students need to know themselves, and the type of people they are. They need to learn what role in a team they would best fit, and then have that nourished. Every member of a team is important, and can be benefited tenfold when creativity is added to the equation.
    I was really glad to read that the Miller Center at the University of Virginia in partnership with the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation had proposed a curriculum related to their entrepreneurship competition. I think this is a step in the right direction for a creative-based curriculum nationwide. If I were in charge, I would probably just have the curriculum for K-12 be similar to the way things are done in college. Less guidance, more openness for free thought, more discussion, and more challenge to think differently from the people around you. This is a process that does not need to start as late as it does. If anything, I think elementary school students could handle this type of work better than college students could. I cannot count how many times I’ve been shaken up by the lack of guidance in college when it came to the school work. “Do we need to do chunk paragraphs?” “How many pages?”, “What font should we use?” “How many sources?” I’m still kind of boggled by it. I’m adjusting, but I hope that in the future students are taught to be creative and better prepared for the world.

  5. Gerry Kiruthu February 12, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    Kindergarten through eighth grade, freshman through senior year of high school are next, then freshman through senior year of college or university are the next step in the pursuit of knowledge or the journey of education. In the world today, if the patterns keep on trending as they have been for the past couple of years, undergraduate education is just not enough to be hired as an employee of the 21st century workforce. This means that most people will need to end up going to graduate school in order be qualified enough to have a job for today’s economy. As we grow older and technology continues to grow, the more and more technology is making more changes and more of an impact in our society. They will take over jobs in different industries and humans will have very few places where their input or employment in general will be valued over a computer’s, or a robot’s. If we look at the automotive industry for example, the manufacturing is conducted with robots over men and women who did those same jobs fifty or so years ago. The new type of vehicle and the new technology coming out now is not only that of electric or hybrid anymore, but that of an autonomous technology that allows the vehicle to drive itself. The question now is, how much longer until we become obsolete?
    According to this article, the education system in the United States today is making its students less creative. This is a scary thought because of the picture that this reality paints. The students that are learning today are going to end up in a working environment that requires freelance workers more than employed, corporate workers. The skill required to be of a person of a freelance trade requires flexibility and creativity and the ability to think outside the box to create something that will be unique and worthwhile to oneself. If these types of skills are not nurtured when in school, they will be damned when they realize that they need them to survive in harsh, cold world. A study featured in this article is one that was conducted by Kyung Hee Kim, a professor for education at the College William and Mary. In her study, she came across a revelation that children in today’s schools are “less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.” This is a lot to take in due to the fact that these are not only skills that need to be nurtured in order to succeed as entrepreneurs and freelance workers, but skills that are key in maneuvering your way around life’s pressures and immense struggles.
    According to Sir Ken Robinson, the only way to go around this is by remodeling the whole education model and structure in a way that helps children be just as creative as they are literate as he says “creativity now is as important in education as literacy.” He concentrates on the fact that the current education model was framed in the time of industrialization which is a completely different time to the world that we live in today. In that model, mistakes are frowned upon and that teaches the children to stay in one lane, the correct one but in the real world, how will they be able to handle mistakes if they have not learned how to cope with them before? This is the dilemma that Robinson brings up and that is what jeopardizes the potential future that will be filled with today’s learners.
    The only way to move forward is to train the supposed leaders and builders of tomorrow as actual leaders who will, in their lifetime, fail and struggle before attaining their initial goal or goals, depending on their ambitions. According to the author, “entrepreneurs advance society by imagining and creating innovative solutions, products, ventures, services, and technologies that help us all, and that is a truth that I personally believe in. We have only come this far by pushing boundaries, the ones we thought were permanent, but every time someone comes in and rethinks the parameters of the boundary it is pushed a bit further on, or creates a new territory of its own like Mark Zuckerberg did.

  6. Vince DeBartolomeis February 12, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    The education system in America is undoubtedly flawed but the biggest crime of all is killing creativity. Under the current educational system, kids are expected to fit inside a certain box and if a kid doesn’t fit inside that box, people act like it’s a crime that needs to be resolved. In reality, that kid that’s a little bit outside of the box is just being creative. And in our ever changing, ever shifting world, creativity is just what we need more of. Our world is going to need to come up with solutions to problems that have not even been discovered yet. And the best way to solve these problems is through creativity. Like the article says, nurturing creativity and thinking should be as important as literacy. If a student can read and write but doesn’t have anything creative to write then what’s the point? In today’s education system, like Professor Shannon has said in class, is as simple as this. The teacher opens up your brain, pours in some information for you to memorize, and if you spit it back up the right color and the right texture, you pass. There is no real thinking or learning done in this system. Often times the students will forget the information later on and it will become irrelevant.
    I also really agree with the part about how kids aren’t prepared to fail. In today’s culture, kids are expected to have everything handed to them. In the education system, kids are afraid to be wrong because they will be made fun of by their classmates. In sports, kids receive participation medals and expect for everything to be equal and fair. Then when they finally get a piece of the real world, they can’t handle it. Kids don’t realize that often times you have to fail a few times in order to be successful. I realize it is a cliché example, but Michael Jordan didn’t make the varsity basketball team his freshman year. He was a talented player, but he did not make the varsity team and had to play Junior Varsity that year. In today’s society, parents would go in to the coach’s office and plead for the coach to put their son on Varsity or they would transfer schools where he would play Varsity basketball. I’ve seen it happen numerous times during my high school career where kids would rather escape the system and go play somewhere else rather than work hard. In Michael Jordan’s case he stuck it out and playing Junior Varsity motivated him to play harder and train harder so that he would play varsity the next year. Our society needs to teach kids that it is okay to fail sometimes in order to succeed. Kids today are really scared to take chances because they might fail. This is a problem that needs to be fixed.
    The education system is the basis through which our kids are formed and should be adjusted to set them up for the most success. In the current system, kids are too afraid to fail and be creative and that keeps them from being successful. If the US readjusted their education system so that kids can think freely and really learn information rather than just memorize it they would be set up for a much better future. In the current state, kids are discouraged from creativity which hurts them later on their life.

  7. Moe Jaman February 12, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    This article really speaks to me personally as it backs up what I have been thinking for years. The current education system is quite mechanical as it is bland, has basic construction, and provides too much “busy work”. The immediate problem I can identify in the current education system is the fact that most of, to almost all of the work students receive from classes are busy work. Not many classes poke at the brain of ask students to think differently. Many classes simply require students to memorize words and names. Often, such topics learned are tested and never used again, therefor our brains have learned to flush the information. We have been indirectly taught to only memorize information for a test. After a test, students can forget the information and move on. This is greatly flawed as from recent discussions and interviews with professionals in the work force, I have been informed that learning and RETAINING information is key to success and advancement.
    Another flaw of the current education system is that it only teaches how to do paperwork. What I mean by this statement is that students are merely taught to only push information from one platform to their own, then cite it properly. Students are so pushed to find and use sources and existing information that it distracts from them creating their own information or analysis. Often, ridiculous amounts of sources are required and in the stress of reading books and articles, students forget to focus on their own ideas.
    I believe that more creative writing should be structured into early education classes as well as high school level courses. I also suggest that it become mandatory and part of a curriculum that student take part in creative writing or are just able to practice their own ideas and develop their own form of independent, creative thinking.
    The modern education is training people to become obedient pencil pushers when what the word needs are some new, fresh minds. Confident and creative.

  8. Sheikh Elahi February 12, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    In the article “How America’s Education Model Kills Creativity and Entrepreneurship” written by a Forbes writer, the creativity in Americas Education system is questioned. The author states how the American education model “is stifling the creative soul of our children”. I strongly agree with that statement. I believe that our education system in America is very badly flawed. But that is not because of the teachers and advisors in our education system. It all comes back to Technology. Study shows that technology use among young children is rapidly increasing. Today a three year old knows more about how to use an iPhone than an elder person. But while this may be amazing, it is also very bad. Technology has its many pros, but I also has many many cons.
    Technology use restricts movement, which leads the next generation to be severely lazy. Children don’t like to go out and play anymore. The most creative thing growing up was that without smartphones and slow computers we could not sit inside and play video games all day. We would go out and try to find new games. If we couldn’t find any games we would make them up. Creating a game or even new rules involves a lot of creativity and it seems this trait is disappearing among the new generation. That’s why a company created the Techball which involves both technology and creativity by allowing children to create their own rules. Because of this laziness, and less social society, we see a decline in our productivity and creativeness in our future. It’s not like this is the last generation to deal with this lack of creativity, but the next generations will all be victims of the technological boom. Causing them to lose their creative and social skills. As said, “These are some very worrisome trends”.
    Kids also have become less emotionally expressive as said in the article. This seems very worrisome because without being able to express emotions this world will become chaotic. Corporations, sports, medicine, etc. all require emotional expression. The new generations will lack these skills which will make it especially hard for them. I hardly believe that the American Education Model is to blame in this situation. Technological advances are to blame. The new generations are going to have a hard time surviving with their lack of skills, and their need for technology.

  9. Jonathan Barcelos February 12, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

    This article’s topic is something that is very important to me. I have talked about this, not from a business perspective, but as a perspective on the education system we have as a whole. Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”. Since I read this quote years ago, it got me thinking about the flaws in our education systems today. Instead of teaching kids how to be creative, how to solve problems and how to even fail, teachers are forced to teach kids how to pass standardized tests, and if they get a bad grade they are punished by their parents or their peers. The simple fact that at the young ages of even 8-14, kids are not allowed anymore to explore their creativity, or think outside the box, they have to do math problems and nonsense that will not help them in the future. I can rant on and on about how standardized tests will not help anyone on the long run, but that is something people already know. This article brought up another aspect of the way kids are growing up today, and that is about social acceptance. Children today grow on social media and they tend to copy whatever they see, very few are original today, we are breeding a society of followers. Children today are also raised in a bubble. I grew up outside, I loved going outside with my friends, going to the parks, and believe it or not, lemonade stands or other small ways to make money. But I drive by the parks today and they are empty, I work in catering and all I see are kids looking down on a screen. One can argue that this helps their motor skills, but it does not expand their thoughts and creativity because all they do is repeat a motion over and over. I loved playing tycoon games growing up, strategy games and the likes. The outdoors gave me a sense of wonder but I do not see where they get it now. Schools need to let the children fail and learn from their mistakes, not make the kids fear failure, embrace it and learn from it. Without that, entrepreneurs, who face failures multiple times before finding something that works, will never arise from schools today. Another problem other than the school that we face today is the cost of a startup, and the management of one. I left high school without a clue of how to do taxes, how mortgages work, any of that, but I knew Pythagorean Theorem and how cells divide… That is not helping me today, and I still do not understand how that ever helped me, except to pass a test. I had high school teachers express their ideas of the fact that they cannot teach what they believe we need to learn or else they would get fired. They all were against it but what are they going to do? Nothing, because they need a job.

  10. Ashley F March 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    This article really opened up my eyes to a very urgent issue happening in America’s education system. It is important to look at the youth of our country in order to predict the future because they are the future of America. The fact that children are becoming less creative, less imaginative and declining in many other areas is extremely scary not only for the business world as focused on in this article, but for the country as a whole. The article states that based on a study it was found that “children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.” This is extremely scary, and changes need to be made to the education system. As a college student, I can see where problems lie in the system, many courses in college as well as high school are very structured, and factual, requiring a lot of memorization and not forcing students to think outside of the box or see things from a different angle. We essentially have become lazy, relying on the internet and other sources to spit out this information to us that we have to memorize. Therefore, I think technology can be the blame of this decline among younger generations. Children are now provided with tablets and other forms of technology for school that distract them and do not leave their minds open to thinking, they rely on the device to do it for them which Sheikh Elahi mentions in her response above which I strongly agree with.

    Another important issue the article touched upon was not only the loss of creativity but the loss of willingness to take chances and risks. Children are now so afraid of failing and being wrong that they do not want to risk thinking for themselves. I think that outside of the education system, parents and society is to blame as a whole. Children are scared to fail. For example, in many lower level sports children are all given medals and trophies just for participating, and often even fifth place and lower are recognized. Children expect to be rewarded for everything because they are so used to having the mindset that everyone should be on equal levels. Although equality is a great mindset, it is not a realistic one. There is always going to be someone who is better than you, in competition there is always going to be a winner or a loser, etc. When these children grow up, they will not know how to handle rejection in the real world and not understand the concept of fighting for and working for something that you really want such as a certain job position, they may just expect it to be handed to them.

    All of the issues mentioned in the article are ones that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Along with the education system, society as a whole needs to work to make changes that will benefit the youth in their future. We need to help these kids not only for the benefit of themselves, but for the benefit of our country in the future. How will America be if every person thinks the same? If everyone is afraid to take a risk with an idea? The future of our country is in these children’s hands and minds, and we need to help them.

  11. MP April 3, 2016 at 3:46 am #

    Being an Entrepreneurial Studies major, I’ve been forced in my classes to be creative. In almost every class for this major, a student needs to come up with a new business idea that has not been thought of before. This can be very difficult to do for a homework assignment in just the time between two classes. I’ve always loved the idea of running a business, but after majoring in Entrepreneurial Studies, I feel like I could never think of my own idea for one. I never had to think like that when I was younger and create idea. Even coming up with project topics, I wasn’t very creative. I related to this article when Chao and Lopez-Gottardi mentioned that students are so pressured to not fail that they stop being creative. I feel as if I learn best from my mistakes. When I retry something after I fail, I always feel much better about it the second time around.

    Failure can be a great way to learn. Once a person fails some sort of task, they find a new, different way to do it in the future. I think that if children were allowed to make more mistakes, they’d be more willing to be creative in the first place. But then they would find a newer way to do the task again. Either way the student is using more creativity, which could help them in the future. There is always a learning experience of how not to do something when someone fails. Also, students need more creativity in what they do in their younger years. When teacher give assignments in school, they could give students more of a chance to step outside of the box and reward them for being creative. Even if this student failed; if they did it creatively, they could at least try again in the same creative way. Then they could learn from the whole experience.

  12. Joseph Padula September 23, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    Raul O. Chao, the author of this article, proposes a very interesting concept about the need for an educational reform because of a constant decline in creativity in school districts. One of Chao’s main improvements that he suggested schools should focus on was failing. The focus was not on handing out actual F’s to the students, but to instill an understanding the importance of failure. The mantra “fail quick, and fail often” was mentioned in this article and I truly believe this is a very significant lesson to learn, especially as a young student. This mantra teaches perseverance and diligence, the two key attributes to have to be successful not only in school but in life. Providing these young scholars with the resources to resolve a problem will make them more independent and learn which style of reading, writing, or whatever it may be that fits them best. Besides simply lecturing students about the core curriculum assigned for that specific subject, this way of learning will force these students to establish an efficient work ethic to find their own solution to a problem or concept.

    Additionally, this type of learning requires critical thinking, which in has been emphasized in almost every one of my courses since grade school. Critical thinking pushes an individual from bland linear thinking to a more complex deeper meaning of an object or problem. Once these students finish their respective academic careers linear thinking will just not be enough to separate themselves from the millions of other graduates competing for the same jobs. This is why critical thinking is essential due to the fact that without it society would never be able to progress as a civilization. Everyone thinking the same way and doing the same processes to complete a task will never improve the world we live in. Inventions such as 3D-printing, self-automated vehicles, smartphones, or the internet of things could have never been created without someone pushing the boundaries of what was thought to be impossible. Teachers urging their students to think outside the box and take different perspectives toward a problem is a great way to promote creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset needed to make difference in this world.

    Furthermore, another way in which to promote creativity in the classroom would be Harkness table style classrooms. The Harkness method is “teaching and learning method involving students seated in a large, oval shape to discuss ideas in an encouraging, open-minded environment with only occasional or minimal teacher intervention.” At my high school, The Pingry School, which is based out of Basking Ridge New Jersey was ranked third best Private School in the State for its innovational learning methods and extreme focus on their students’ individual growth as a scholar. Pingry teachers used the Harkness style discussions to allow the students to take control of the class. By the students dedicating which points to bring up during class from an assigned reading or assignment allowed them to take a stance. The individual would state their opinion and use contextual evidence to support their claim. Everyone having a different opinion, pushed that individual to defend their idea and try to convince the class of the reasoning behind their thought process. Classes like these are the ones that have helped me the most become the student I am today due to the fact that it gave me the freedom to form an opinion and listen to the insight you may not have thought of from the other students in the class. I do believe that by school districts implementing more critical thinking atmospheres and learning styles like the Harkness method will help improve the creativity of our world’s young scholars and provide them with the necessary tools to make a real difference in society.

  13. Robby Hazel September 23, 2016 at 8:44 pm #

    The entrepreneurial courage that once defined American spirit has seemingly been slipping away in recent years. The article blames this down trend on America’s school system, but I feel as though the blame should be spread across a variety of sources. While it may be true that our school systems typically instruct our students to mitigate risks by simply avoiding them altogether, we should not leave the teaching of such a valuable trait up to instructors in the classroom. Parents and organizations should feel an equal responsibility to push America’s youth to not fear failure, but to take risks and learn from mistakes. Going through life avoiding failure will only serve to limit one’s successes on a personal level, as well as impeding entrepreneurial growth on a national scale.

    According to the article, America’s school system has recently been putting more emphasis on ensuring that our students do well on standardized tests and receive a grade point average adequate enough to land them a spot in a university. On its own, this is not necessarily a negative thing. The problem lies within the systems failure to properly instill a spirit of entrepreneurship in each and every one of our nation’s students. Throughout my high school career, I was never offered the opportunity to take classes that encouraged the courageous, creative, and thick skinned spirit that is advantageous for an innovator’s success. If I wanted to hone these skills I had to seek out extra-curricular organizations, such as Business Professionals of America, in order to gain what was lacking inside the class room. The only problem with that is, many students typically do not take the initiative to pursue extra-curricular activities that allow them to grow more than their basic studies will allow them to. That is where family members must come in. I feel that it is the responsibility of parents to encourage young and impressionable students to reach their full learning and growing capacity, by taking advantage of opportunities that might not always be in the forefront of their minds.

    The over-arching stigma that failure is a terrible and life-shattering occurrence will also have to vanish if America is to correct this current downtrend. As most successful entrepreneurs can attest, achieving success in riskier career paths, such as starting your own business or developing new and innovative technology, will never come along without realizing some degree of failure. As evidenced by America’s past prosperity which was brought upon by our fiery entrepreneurial spirit, failing once does not necessarily equate to ultimate failure. Kids these days are beginning to assume the complete opposite, causing this attitude and our recent slide in innovation to be too coincidental to ignore. I fear that if this school of thought is not corrected soon, our country will continue to produce adults that do not contain the same gumption as our most famous innovators, simply because they are too scared to fail, too small-minded to be creative and think outside the box, and too hung up on seeking out ordinary accomplishments to realize their extraordinary talents.

  14. Samantha Frank October 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    The American education system is in desperate need for a reform and this just might be it. In some ways creativity is a part of a person’s personality but to certain extent creativity can be brought out of a person. A young student can learn to look at a problem from a different way than they originally thought possible. People need to learn that there is not just one right answer to everything; there are many possible answers. Teachers play a big role in this reform because they need to also be taught that there is more than one answer and one way to look at things. They can ask questions and better understand the way that their students are thinking. I think a big part of this is standardized testing and how teachers are teaching for the test. If these tests are taken away or there is time set for a part of the curriculum that is not on the test where the students can learn to be creative, there would be great success.

    When students are not allowed to think for themselves at a young age, that follows them into adulthood. These affects are being seen in society now, with not a lot of startup businesses. I would like to start my own business one day but I do not have a clue about how to go about doing that. There should be a class, somewhere in the twelve-plus years that people are in school about how to follow your dreams, like owning your own business. Too often are people’s dreams not followed or forgotten because they feel like they cannot take risks or they do not know how to take risks. This is because they were taught at an early age to “color inside the lines”. Children need to be told that it is okay to be who they want to be, even if that is different from other people. I agree with this article that the education system we have now is suppressing the creativity of people and that needs to stop.

  15. John Phillips February 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    The current state of American education is one that is quite depressing. We have become so focused on test scores and grades, that it makes education into more of something that just is the way it is. This philosophy is way off base of how a true education system should be. Proper education, should integrate real world skills, with reading, writing, and most importantly creativity. That is the major problem with the education system in America. It has become something that kids just conform to; they don’t understand what it is they are truly learning. They read things, memorize them, get a good grade, and forget the rest of the information in a week. It is counterproductive, as it doesn’t truly help them reach potential, but most importantly it doesn’t foster creativity. This atrocity is beginning to have economic effects, as well as overall societal effects. Businesses aren’t being created like they once were, and most importantly our people are becoming components of a machine.
    This problem with the education starts with the way society views it as a whole. Education has become something that children should just conform to, and go through daily, without truly understanding why. Kids are told by their parents to go to school and earn good grades, but they aren’t told the true purpose. While I believe this is absolutely necessary, the grades they earn in classes we have in American, don’t really reflect true intelligence and creativity. Sure, if you get a 4.0, you’re viewed as someone very bright, which may be true. But, I don’t believe that these classes and grades mean that you’re learning skills that will help you have future success. The skills that I believe are missing, based off of my experience are the following: communication, creativity, entrepreneurial, and independent work.
    As far as communication is concerned, skills such as digitally communicating over email, writing letters, and most importantly conversational and public speaking skills are all lacking in the current generation. The education system doesn’t particularly put strong emphasis on such skills, and when college graduates enter the work force, it is apparent. Digital communication is a crucial skill that every person must know how to do; it shows respect, intelligence, and it makes functions run much smoother. As far as conversational skills, people don’t know how to hold conversations, and most importantly have respectful ones. This means properly addressing superiors, or fellow co workers. Public speaking is, in my opinion, the most difficult skill to develop. This is why from a young age, kids should be exposed to such situations more frequently. This means from a young age, make children speak in front of the class and present something. This will teach them how to inform, persuade, and argue.
    The next two skills that are missing are creativity and entrepreneurship. These two things aren’t emphasized in education. Kids are taught not to be wrong. This means they don’t want to take risks, and use their creativity to have success. We need to get rid of this notion that its bad to take risks and be wrong. This trend is apparent because of the rapid decrease in startups in the United States.
    The final skill is independence; this means people do not have the skills to do research, solve problems, and analyze. They always look to someone to do it for them. We need to have more classes and programs geared toward problem solving and research. Without these skills, kids will not succeed. Education reform is one of the more difficult tasks we face, but getting rid of certain trains of thought, and improving teaching styles, a difference can be made.

  16. Frankie Lisa March 24, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    How we should educate our nation’s children is a very challenging question to answer. It is debated by adults in congress and at the dinner table. Many people believe that the United States is lacking in education. Many people who make this claim think so because of how poorly the United States performs on standardized exams compared to the children of other countries. The United States is ranked outside of the top twenty in both math and science. However, the United States has a bigger flaw in its education system than the children’s lackluster standardized test scores. The education system of the United States is stunting the growth of student’s creativity. There is a growing number of studies that indicate the decline of students’ creativity. The author of the article writes, “America has long been unique because of its remarkable ingenuity, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial spirit.” However, over the past few years, we have seen a noticeable difference in the creativity of different generations. I think this problem is more significant and more difficult to fix than our students’ standardized test scores.
    According to Kyung Hee Kim, who is a professor of education and William and Mary University, “children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle” I think the blame for this goes to the education system. I know from personal experience that school does very little to promote creativity. My schooling experience was very academically concentrated; there was little room for students to express their thoughts and feelings. For example, in almost every English class I have ever taken, most of the course is reading and analyzing literature. However, many teachers feed the students his or her own analysis rather than allowing the students to create their own opinions on the work. In my English classes we were also assigned papers and essays. However, the guidelines of these essays were very narrow and specific, so there was very little room for students like myself to write about my opinions. I think it would benefit the students if they were assigned more open ended essays in which they express their own opinions, for example, students could write about their thoughts on a particular issue or they should have the option to research a subject of their choice. Even the art courses I took stripped out much of the creativity involved. Similarly to my English classes, we were given specific guidelines, and going outside of those guidelines resulted in a poor grade. For example, some assignments the entire class is told to draw or paint the same object.
    In my opinion, the purpose of education should not be to prepare students for exams, but rather to prepare them to become better thinkers and problem solvers. The way we should fix this problem is by rewarding students for their creativity rather than punishing them.

  17. Elliott Otmani September 13, 2017 at 9:46 am #

    This article from 2015 looks interesting and debatable to me because we can still apply the content of the article as the current year, 2017. I would like to base my reply on two perspectives, one local perspective (inside the US), and one global perspective (in the world).
    In a local perspective, the Kauffman Activity index shows (as the article states), that the number of creation of startups is declining comparing 1997 and 2015. Forbes’ article tends to explain it by the lack of creativity and imagination of the new generation. To me, that is correct. In 1997, around 60% of startups creator were aged less than 44 years old. In 2015, around 45% of startups creator were aged less than 44 years old. How can we explain it? I think the huge increase in the “connected life” (children start being on screens at a very young age) plays a big role in the decrease of imagination and creativity of the new generation. Children do not go outside to play and discover the world, they are used to look at a screen or play on a screen showing them the world. They are passive to the world, not active. It brings up to my second point which is a more global perspective.
    I do not think that, as the article says, america’s education system has an impact on the decrease of creation of startups. As a French citizen, comparing the two systems makes me think the contrary. American education’s system enhances the team work, taking initiatives (doing presentations, researches by its own), read books and study researches which are part of an entrepreneur’s mind in my sense. The programs are always adjusted and made to see how the current situation in the world is. These facts, that are not necessarily found in the French system, makes a difference in the mentality of a youngster when looking for his future in terms of work career. Also, the government facilitates the risk-taking because it is quite easy to create a startup and develop it (especially with tax reports).
    It is why, I would conclude that the decrease on startup creations are mainly due to me of the mentality of the new generation, and the new habits rather than the America education’s system

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