This fall has brought lots of interesting debates to life throughout the levels of education. This morning’s news (to be continued tonight on NBC) was that more and more colleges and universities are eliminating the SAT from the list of criteria for entry altogether. I did a quick search to find some information on the plight of the SAT. I discovered that my alma mater, Hamilton College, has made the SAT and ACT optional and that policy has proven to be successful – a more diverse pool of applicants and a higher success rate among students post-matriculation. Music to my ears as one who has taken my share of standardized tests and hated every minute.
So, now the SAT doesn’t matter, neither does where one goes to college. According to an article from September 18th in The Wall Street Journal, “Any College Will Do” “most CEOs of the biggest corporations didn’t attend Ivy League or other highly selective colleges. They went to state universities, big and small, or to less-known private colleges.” A.G. Lafley, CEO of Proctor & Gamble (and fellow Hamilton College alum) makes comments that provide the title for the article. He says that he “‘chose Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., because he wanted a solid liberal-arts education and to be assured a spot on the intercollegiate basketball team. I learned to think, to communicate, to lead, to get things done.’ Adding that those qualities are what he seeks in job candidates at his company. ‘Any college will do.’”
note: this post has unintentionally turned into a commercial for Hamilton.
The other war being waged, at the grade and high school levels, is that homework is a waste of time. Those who oppose it see it as busy work that does not increase understanding of concepts or teach students how to think or how to utilize creativity. A book by Nancy Kalish and Sara Bennett, “The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It”has reignited this debate.
There is a statistic that reports that 96% of children are creative and 8% of adults are creative. Do standardized tests, rote memorization and even the schedule of the school year steal the creativity? Will any of the current debates inject creativity preservation, or learning the hows of thinking into education? I suppose we will have to wait and see.