Letter: Creativity is key

February 21, 2013


To the editor:

In today’s schools, we learn methods of memorization essential for succeeding on tests, The next week, month or even year after the test, the neuron connections in our brains begin to fade without focus or use. Every day, the Internet and smartphones are becoming a major reference for our weak neuron connections (aka memory). In just a matter of decades, computers will be installed in our glasses or even contact lenses, eliminating the need for memorization.

When this time comes, we must ask ourselves, are we giving our youth the right tools to succeed in the 21st century of technology? I believe the answer is no. We focus so little on what will be important in upcoming decades. You might ask, what is important? The answer to this question is very simple: imagination and creativity. No supercomputer or artificial intelligence machine will ever master imagination to the degree of humans. Not anytime soon, anyway.

Our high schools (Lawrence High and Free State) require two fine arts credits. This is embarrassing, and the rest of the country isn’t doing much if any better. Imagination and creativity are going to be the key to jobs in the near future, and I do mean near future. By 2050 we could have the majority or jobs taken over by robots, a very scary thought. Just remember that we humans have the ability of creativity and imagination. Now is the time to start to reshape our learning system. Let’s start here, right in Lawrence, Kansas. We can start a movement.


windex 5 years, 3 months ago

Interesting perspective - thank you.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 3 months ago

This isn't just a novel idea, it is one we had better consider. Creativity, imagination, and critical thinking are just a part of the model and when computers can master those things for us, we will have nothing. Music, theatre (live), painting, scupture, and all forms of creativity will be the saving grace of the human mind. I agree wholeheartedly with the writer!

avarom 5 years, 3 months ago

Being a professional musican in the studio.......Music requires you to listen....which is a skill that takes you a very long way in life....and is a great benefit to Me.....most people when your talking or discussing, either nod, say yea, your right , ugh, sure, fine, whatever.....without even taking into consideration the basis of the conversation. Listening closely is a great skill to acquire!!

Kookamooka 5 years, 3 months ago

Music is one of this countries largest export products! Entertainment exports are a HUGE piece of America's GDP. We dont see it because we live in the midwest but hundreds of thousands of "creatives" are employed on the coasts. They need to recognized. It is a viable career option.

verity 5 years, 3 months ago

Very thought provoking and well put. No matter what our future is, we all need to learn creative and critical thinking. While machines do much of our tedious work, our lives are enriched by our own imaginations.

Kookamooka 5 years, 3 months ago

I know a district in Kansas that took art out of the elementary schools due to budget cuts at the state. Now they cant figure out why their kids cant think outside of the box. They want their kids to collaborate and be creative but they were told what do every step of the way. The students are always asking permission to do things. Can I color this green? Its a travesty.

Dara Raney 5 years, 3 months ago

Yes, nicely said. Thank you. A well wounded education is key. We live in the wrong state I'm afraid. Keep getting the word out. As an artist and a mother of a science geered son I see the strong value in both.

nneil 5 years, 3 months ago

Good thinking there! Being an educator in Kansas I feel that creativity is critical, and is often times overlooked. Start a movement, young friend, for your creativity will inspire others.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 3 months ago

Want better math scores, teach music. Good PE classes and good exercise promote academics. The body and brain are a system. We erred 150 years ago when we started treating kids as automatons and disintegrated the instructional model. One room schools worked pretty well for lots of reasons. We can recreate that environment in larger buildings and some visionary educators are doing just that.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 3 months ago

Fine arts in the Lawrence Schools will remain a top priority and central to its curriculum as long as parents insist that it remain so, which they have and hopefully will continue to do so. Last time I checked with a practicing music student, memorization was central to how well they played their music as well, and the more they practiced, the better they got. Sorry folks, a computer chip in your contact lens won't change that!

Now where did I put my keys....

avarom 5 years, 3 months ago

Memorization, timing, concentration, application, reading, listening, creative thinking, planning are all skills acquired by music....but not only music...art, sports, acting etc....something typing in a computer can't do for very much for You!! And..... Being a Percussionist, and a female in a dominate male industry....... I really dislike Computer enhance percussion....so I never use it in the Studios, when recording for CD's.Thank goodness...I can hold my own for them to listen!!

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