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Did CPS Strike Settlement Miss Out On Looking At Big Picture?

CHICAGO, Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - With the residue of the teacher strike still looming large in the minds of parents, teachers and students alike, the question still remains as to whether the new CPS contract is actually taking upon its initial plan of bringing about the proper curriculum reform needed to help children become better students.

"Far too often, the discussion falls into simple, dichotomous categories: long-days good, short days bad; high standards good, low standards bad; 'reform' good, unions bad. My concern is that we are having a conversation in which positions are being taken based on unchallenged and false assumptions," said author Theodore Richards.

Richards, an educator and award winning author whose content focuses on educational matters, believes that although the strike was necessary in order to reflect on current curriculum procedures that weren't working, an opportunity was missed on finding ways to best evaluate student growth.

"Preparing kids for tests does not give them the critical and creative capacities that they need in college and beyond," said Richards. 

In his book, Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement Manifesto, Richards touches on an alternative that does not position test scores as a primary barometer on measuring intellectual ability. Instead, his Creatively Maladjusted concept argues that test scores can under-value learning ability and demote creative thinking. Richards' book is personified through his non-profit organization, The Chicago Wisdom Project, based in the south side of Chicago, which focuses on stimulating the mind creatively and intellectually.

"We are seeking to empower our students to ask difficult questions, to challenge assumptions, to be creators rather than consumers of culture," said Richards.

Richards believes that this re-imagined way of educating will not only raise test scores, but also encourage future generations to think more independently rather than just systematically.

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