By: Krystle Crossman
Over the last decade or so the number of start-up companies has declined significantly. Entrepreneurs are become few and far between. But why is this? Is it because they are scared of the economy? Do they lack the funds? According to College of William and Mary professor Kyung Hee Kim it is due in large part to America’s educational system killing the creativity and motivation of our youth.
The educational system doesn’t teach creativity or risk-taking so kids grow up without the understanding that you need to take risks in order to get rewards. They are not learning that failure is a part of life but instead are taught to be afraid of mistakes and the consequences they could bring. According to data from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking children have been less motivated, less talkative, less humorous, and less expressive than they used to be. They are not taught to think outside of the box anymore and are taught that failure is wrong. Failure is something that they should be prepared for and not afraid of. They should be taught that mistakes are just opportunities to learn new ways of doing things so it will be right the next time. Children will never take chances to explore a new idea if they are not taught that mistakes are okay.
Author Sir Ken Robinson states that education needs a reform and needs it badly. He states that creativity is just as important for children to learn as math and English are. Apple founder Steve Jobs also stated that it is extremely important for children to learn about confidence and to be tolerable of mistakes and failures. They are told what to think and how to react to situations that they will come across as adults and are taught about social norms early on in life. If they are too afraid to stray from these norms they will never be able to take any chances to bring new and exciting ideas to life.
The educational system as it is now doesn’t reward students for thinking of new ideas that may be outside-the-box ideas. It rewards them for staying in the lines and not pushing the envelope. Experimenting and failing often are things that kids should be learning about, not about how to stay within a safety net. The Batten Institute and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia are trying to pilot a new program that involves a K-12 entrepreneurship contest. It will also involve a curriculum that is based on entrepreneurship so that children can learn about risks, rewards, and that it’s okay to fail every now and then.