Another Expert Calls for Imagination in Education

Image by Romain Guy*

The Council on Foreign Relations has published a provocative article, “Education Reform and U.S. Competitiveness,” as part of its Renewing America initiative. The piece is an “Expert Roundup,” featuring the reform recommendations of four thought leaders: Craig R. Barrett, former CEO and chairman of Intel Corporation, and one of the appointed leaders of Change the Equation, President Obama’s STEM initiative; author Steven Brill; Diane Ravitch, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, and research professor of education at NYU; and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Each contributor’s perspective is worth exploring, but Diane Ravitch’s caught my attention because it accords so well with Lincoln Center Institute’s thinking on education policy change.

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Not on the Test

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Singer-songwriter Tom Chapin, who grew up in the NYC public schools, worries about the potential long-term consequences for students in cases where testing requirements drive school curriculum.

Thinking’s important. It’s good to know how.
And someday you’ll learn to but someday’s not now.
Go on to sleep, now. You need your rest.
Don’t think about thinking. It’s not on the test.

Chapin reminds us of the importance of a well-rounded curriculum—including the arts—in educating students for a future that is sure to value imagination and creativity as critical capacities.

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On the Road: Part One

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Image by geishaboy500*

Image by geishaboy500*

The last few weeks have seen the kick-off of the Imagination Conversations national initiative, a project of Lincoln Center Institute. I was thrilled to serve as moderator at the first two conversations, which took place at the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City and at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Zipping from one to the other, I saw firsthand that imagination is spreading—and I was proud to be a contagion.

The OKC conversation sported a remarkable roster of panelists: CEO Cliff Hudson, State Senator Clark Jolley, newspaper publisher Mary Mèlon, medical researcher Steve Prescott, composer Jerod Tate, and university president Roger Webb. I don’t have space here to transmit the full body of their wisdom, but I will say a few words about Hudson, who runs the drive-in food chain Sonic Corporation and whose career settles all doubts about whether imagination has a place in the business world. Continue reading