Letter: Why are we going backwards?

To the Editor:

When my child was in fourth grade, her class took a trip to the Katonah Museum. After the exhibit, the children were ushered into the art room for an activity. On the table were many pieces of cardboard, already cut into various shapes. On wooden boxes in the middle of the table, there were bits of Scotch Tape, already cut, ready for the children to use. I asked the teacher why the tape was there — after all, these were 8- and 9-year-old kids, perfectly capable of using a dispenser. She replied that they had to because the kids took too long to rip the tape from the dispenser. Some of them couldn’t rip it fast enough to be able to finish the project. She went on to opine that schools were so focused on the result, they were not given the chance to work through the process.

Seems to me we need more time for art, not less.

In the past few years, studies have shown the value of art education in the development of creative thinking — something our children will need to succeed in the future where facts can be looked up in an instant. Liberal arts degrees are now highly regarded by companies looking to hire, because of the creative problem-solving skills learned. Artists are asked to consult for major companies and the government, to come up with creative solutions to difficult problems.

Why is the district looking backwards? More data and more computers are not what our children need. We have a vibrant, growing arts scene here in Ridgefield, indicative of growing trends. It is a shame our schools are not recognizing this and giving our students more opportunity to “think outside the box.” Whether it be art, writing or even cooking, these classes give our children the opportunity to develop their creative muscles. Muscles they will be required to use as adults in order to succeed.

Ridgefield — let’s be education innovators. Our children will thank us.

Jennifer DiLaura

First Lane, Feb. 11