Column: Creative process is not a frill, but a doorway to learning in every subjectJust two short weeks ago, our children reported to school, excited to see their friends, to explore new subjects, and to learn. Across Duluth, our kids had a chance to head toward a new, efficient, 21st-century learning facility.
By: William Payne, For the Budgeteer News
Just two short weeks ago, our children reported to school, excited to see their friends, to explore new subjects, and to learn. Across Duluth, our kids had a chance to head toward a new, efficient, 21st-century learning facility.
Although our community has been divided about how we achieved this feat, I am sure we agree that all of our children and grandchildren are deserving of the best learning environment we can offer. If you haven’t been in the new and refurbished schools, visit soon. All of us should be proud of the investment we’ve made in our children and in the future of education in our community.
Some in our community feel our new school district administration should look back at past decisions. How long will we have to revisit this history or hold a grudge before we can start meeting the next challenge we face in educating our children? How many times can we force the school district to look backward, diverting its attention from the next hurdle to overcome? I encourage everyone to look forward, as a community, toward the establishment of a new “Minnesota Miracle.”
There are important challenges to K-12 education we must overcome. The world is changing rapidly. Our children need advanced skills in mathematics, science, technology, written and oral communication, and critical thinking. Our up-to-date classrooms and laboratories stand ready to provide the space for the best teachers, the best educational programs, delivered to reasonably sized classes of prepared young people.
But we need funding for the programming, for the teachers and students, so that we can lower class sizes and provide the resources needed to accomplish this goal. And we must provide this opportunity today by keeping our focus on the future, not rehashing the past.
That is why I co-hosted the Stand Up For Kids fundraiser this past week at the Depot. Stand Up For Kids is a campaign working to pass both school funding questions that have been placed on the Nov. 5 ballot in Duluth. As an artist and a teacher, I rallied those who support the integration of the creative process into the daily educational lives of our young people through the study of music, art, theatre, and dance.
Various studies show that directed creative play during the school day leads to greater achievement of learning outcomes across the curriculum. These activities are not frills, but doorways to learning in every subject.
I will be voting “yes” on both questions because it will allow us to lower class sizes, to invest in new learning materials, and to keep our art and music specialists in our classrooms.
The United States has a long history of seeing education as an investment in the future.
Education has been the key to our economic, social, and cultural advancement over the last two centuries. As the world morphs once again, presenting new personal and professional challenges for all members of our society, education stands as the key to successfully unlocking the innovative, creative, and collaborative thinking needed to rise to these challenges.
Please, look forward with me. Help to create the future our community needs this century. Recognize that we don’t have the time to be a divided community, inspecting the past again and again. We have to come together, realize that our future success depends on how all of our children and grandchildren are educated, and as a community make the investment needed to provide that education.
As Paul Wellstone was fond of saying, “We all do better, when we all do better.”
Let’s start by helping all of our children get prepared for the 21st century. Please join me on Nov. 5 in voting “yes” on both of Duluth’s school ballot questions.
William E. Payne is the dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth.