The A Word

By Susan Sclafani
I want to agree with Eric in the sense that  I am regularly being asked both here and abroad about how we can teach innovation and creativity--perhaps that is "the greater truth" that Eric mentioned.  There is a growing consensus that our future success will be determined, not just by greater productivity in the areas that have traditionally fed our economy, but by a constant stream of innovation that will capture the imagination of consumers across the world.  Apple's iPod and iPhone are great examples.  Apple can never stand still; it must always have the next product in production because the first will be copied and sold for less within months. The business community and middle-class parents understand that education in the arts and design will be their ticket to future success.  Large corporations are hiring MFAs along with MBAs.  This is the message that needs to be delivered to state governments and local communities.  I actually put more faith in actions in local communities than in state policy based on the total lack of attention to NCLB's inclusion of the arts in the core curriculum.  According to NCLB, the arts must be part of the curriculum provided to students in every grade--has it made it happen?  No.  We see better results from local community actions as Edward Pauly suggested.  Keep Arts in Schools ( provides good examples of local efforts that are making a real difference like Big Thought in Dallas.  Big Thought has galvanized the foundation and business communities to work with the schools and arts organizations to ensure access for families and children.  We can use the push for innovation and creativity to galvanize other communities as well.
December 2, 2008 6:38 AM | | Comments (3) |


Industry is indeed looking for artists who are more than just skill based. Skill based art can and is outsourced to countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. Innovation and Creatvity cannot be least not yet.

I agree with your faith in local governments and all your reasons "therefore" -

Kudos for this post! An interesting connection I've realized is that the type of education that is promoted is based on the type of individual the "work force" is looking for. In the early 1900s, the Smith-Hughes act promoted "vocational education," to train people for farm work. This made sense, then, as over 25% of the work force was employed in agriculture. Now, almost 100 years later, the work force is indeed (as you mentioned) looking for creative people and innovative solutions. Why, then, is our educational system promoting a paradigm of standards which do everything but encourage creativity. With our most recent iteration of ESEA, we are all but putting creativity in the corner.

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This Conversation For decades, as teaching of the arts has been cut back in our public schools, alarms have been raised about the dire consequences for American culture. Artists and arts organizations stepped in to try to... more

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Jack Lew commented on The A Word: Industry is indeed looking for artists who are more than just skill based. ...

JANE REMER commented on The A Word: I agree with your faith in local governments and all your reasons "therefor...

Evan Wildstein commented on The A Word: Kudos for this post! An interesting connection I've realized is that the t...