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February 18, 2008

Comments

Brad Jolly

John, as a social scientist, what is your opinion of the poll as described in the slides? It struck me as a "push poll," designed to elicit a specific result.

What was your take?

Also, do you think people have enough information to offer informed opinions as to how much creativity is taught in other countries, or how well it is taught? In math and science, we have truckloads of data that show we stack up poorly, but do we have data for such things as creativity and imagination?

John Creighton

Lake Research Associates is a well regarded organization. On political issues, the organization works with Democrats. They are well respected by Republican pollsters, too.

A single survey is nothing more than a snapshot of perception-based opinions at a moment in time. One thing a survey can do is identify gaps in people's knowledge. One prominent example, public opinion polls consistently showed that Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks despite the widely reported evidence to the contrary.

I believe surveys are a useful tool with clear limitations.

Gaythia Weis

I suggest you share this information with the principal of the new Centennial Elementary School, Keith Liddle, who at least as quoted in todays (2/25) Times Call, thinks he will have a science school by having the students read non fiction books rather than narratives.

This is at least as annoying as those schools that think that they can focus on improving CSAP scores by dropping science or social studies.

Everyone needs a broad base from which to develop critical thinking skills. Creativity is needed in scientific endevors where looking at old things in new ways is frequently a means of discovery.

Gaythia Weis

I apologize in the above post for being "annoying" when I should be encouraging. My own daughters had an excellent education in Boulder Valley's Bear Creek elementary school, which has a math, science and music focus.

I would hope that the new Centennial elementary school has a broadening view of it's focus, which I feel is very important for the future preparation of it's students.
For example, the website of Olin College of Engineering near Boston (which both of my daughters now attend) states:


Academically, our students are strong in all of their subjects, but they have exceptional strength in mathematics and science. However, in the admission process we give particular attention to passions beyond math, science and computers. As a result, we have a student body that is multi-talented, adept in oral and written communications and unafraid of change and uncertainty – all of which are important attributes in preparing leaders who can predict, create and manage new technologies. To help them stay well-rounded and balanced, students are encouraged to pursue their personal artistic, humanistic, philanthropic, and technical interests through the college’s Passionate Pursuit program.


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