Dream: Establish centers for creativity in learning institutions

Dream: Establish centers for creativity in learning institutions

I define creativity as the imagination applied. It's the capacity to conceive of what is not and to combine that with critical thinking. In the 1990s, what data shows, is that in the U.S., our IQ scores continued to increase; creativity scores began to plummet, and in particular ages 6 to 12. And they continue to. So it is, in my opinion, a crisis.

If we're talking about the big picture of education, in order for us to have the kind of learners and then the kind of citizens we need, learning institutions-museums, schools, libraries-we need to have spaces that allow for creativity to take place. And whether that's on a cart, or whether that's a particular classroom or it's an initiative of the principal to do professional development-I don't care how it manifests, but I'm looking for that intentionality.

If we keep making it about learning disciplines and content, we aren't learning how to think. First we need to engage curious learners, and then the disciplines are in service to their ideas. It doesn't have to be all things that can be tested. We can create rubrics. We can look at, how well does a student do at the beginning and end of the year with an open-ended project? Now part of the problem is, there isn't much out there. At the Columbus Museum of Art, we're working with educators to create more tools to evaluate and assess this kind of thinking.

Central Ohio has political support, incredible thinkers, school districts that are wanting to make a change. So Columbus is right for being the model. But for me, what's most exciting are these individual teachers who are doing it on their own. So I think there is a sea change.

We can't just settle. We've got to do both; we've got to support the educators, and we've got to move the administration and our culture and society toward a space where we can still have the testing that we need, but we also have spaces in which thinking is predominant. -As told to Emily Thompson