"We must begin to think of creativity as the common good, like liberty or security. It is something essential that belongs to all of us, and must always be fed, renewed and maintained-or else it will slip away." -Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class
The National Center on Education and the Economy is about to release a report called Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. The central goal of this report is how to restructure our educational system in order to promote creativity. Tom Friedman got a sneak peak at the book and this is what he had to say:
Tomorrow, Mr. Tucker’s organization is coming out with a report titled “Tough Choices or Tough Times,” which proposes a radical overhaul of the U.S. education system, with one goal in mind: producing more workers — from the U.P.S. driver to the software engineer — who can think creatively.
“One thing we know about creativity is that it typically occurs when people who have mastered two or more quite different fields use the framework in one to think afresh about the other,” said Mr. Tucker. Thus, his report focuses on “how to make that kind of thinking integral to every level of education.”
That means, he adds, revamping an education system designed in the 1900s for people to do “routine work,” and refocusing it on producing people who can imagine things that have never been available before, who can create ingenious marketing and sales campaigns, write books, build furniture, make movies and design software “that will capture people’s imaginations and become indispensable for millions.”
That can’t be done without higher levels of reading, writing, speaking, math, science, literature and the arts. We have no choice, argues Mr. Tucker, because we have entered an era in which “comfort with ideas and abstractions is the passport to a good job, in which creativity and innovation are the key to the good life” and in which the constant ability to learn how to learn will be the only security you have.
Mastery requires effort and practice. A certain amount of memorization through repetition is needed to make the retrieval of facts second nature.
Creativity is about flexibility and risk taking. Self confidence is key.
So the question becomes: how can mastery be pursued within an educational environment that fosters and encourages creativity? I hope Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce has some interesting answers to this question.