Common Sense

Last week, I visited Strive. Strive is the beneficiary of Gotham and an organization that Gotham Gives has funded for the past few years. Strive helps those who have faced tough times, many previously incarcerated, educate and support each individual’s career.

We met a class of people who had only been there for four days and another group who had been in the program for longer. They were in the middle of a class, highlighting three things that frustrate them and how they should work through that. It was pretty impressive. This might seem like common sense for many, but the people going through this program have not had the luxury of an education to see the light.

Then I watched a reel on Instagram about a program in the 1960s commissioned by NASA, which hired George Land to help them think about how they could employ more geniuses. They started with 1600 five-year-olds with creativity tests and found out that 98% of them qualified as geniuses. They came back five years later and found out that it was down to 30%; five years later, at 15, it was down to 12%, and at adults, it was 2%. Why? They equated it to school. Land said, “Uncreative behavior and thinking is learned.”

As I sat in that classroom, I wondered how we let all these people slip through the cracks by dimming down their brains. I have seen organizations hand young children in underserved communities a violin, and fast forward many years, and they are all playing at Carnegie Hall. That highlights that creativity, aka the 98% of geniuses at age five, must be given that stimulation and ability to solve problems throughout their education to remain inventive thinkers.

The data is there, and I ask, why are we dumbing down our education in this country instead of pouring as much money as possible into various programs for different thinkers? The amount of money we would spend in the short term would change the trajectory of people’s lives, our communities, and our country. Why aren’t we paying our teachers a good wage so more people go into education?

As always, it makes zero sense or common sense.