Circling the Drain: Why Creativity Won’t Be Coming to School Today...or Ever

David Gabbard


We hear a lot of talk, recently, about America’s deepening “creativity crisis” (Seargeant Richardson, 2011) and what schools can do to resolve it. To whatever extent such a crisis is real (Schrage, 2010), we should not expect schools to be part of the solution. From its inception, compulsory schooling in the United States has always served the values of our nation’s dominant institutions and the interests of the social, political, and economic elites who own, control, and benefit most from the social arrangements and relations engendered by those institutions. To organize and operate a set of institutions dedicated to promoting critical and creative thought would run counter to those dominant values and interests by developing the cognitive habits among the population that could render them less susceptible to easy government and corporate manipulation. Therefore, so long as those values and interests remain dominant within the larger society, they will remain dominant within schools, thereby limiting the extent to which schools will ever nurture creativity and critical reflection.


Creativity; Teaching; Education Reform; Schooling; Compulsory Schooling; Deschooling

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ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education