Does the education system kill Creativity and Free Thinking

The Education system does not seem to support creativity and free thinking in fact, it might actually have the opposite effect……and here’s why!

It’s actually a bit of a travesty when you see creative free thinking children completely have that passion knocked out of them by a system that at it’s core, actually seeks to condition conformity and herd mentality. And as a Creative myself it breaks my heart!

More on that later in this post…..


I have first hand experience of this….I struggled with the system at school because my Artistic and Creative nature was often accompanied by curiosity, thinking different and asking questions.

And through those teenage years I was pretty angry about it too!

Now Artisitc ability and Creativity often go hand in hand along with free thinking and can cause this conflict in systems that encourage conformity to a set standard. Of course it is not exclusive and there are non creatives like this too but this post’s focus is on creativity.

Psychologist E. Paul Torrence a pioneer in Creative research said:

The creative kids in school are the ones who rail against the rules the hardest because they have no patience with ridiculous rules.

Now that answers a few questions for me….but that was over 30 years ago and things have changed since then…..or have they?

35 years later – present day

Both my children showed natural Artistic and Creative ability, and of course nothing can make a Dad prouder than when he sees his children gifted with the same creative abilities as he.

Well that’s how I used to think but it may now have been more of a curse than a gift!

I know it sounds harsh and so I will cut to the chase…..

I thought or maybe I should say hoped, that my boys would be able to expand their creative artistic talent through school and go on to do something further in the field of Art.


School saw to it that by the time they finsihed at the ages of 16 neither of them were pursuing or practicing any kind of Art anymore. My dreams of being the father of the next Picasso or John Lennon were completely destroyed.

Now I am being slightly tongue in cheek here as I am proud of both my boys and love them entirely for who they are…Art or no Art. The fact that both have since deprogrammed and rekindled their creativity with music does cause a wry smile to jump across my face though!

But this experience illustrates the point of this post and I have seen and heard of this happening to others.

Parents rarely question the education system especially when it comes to creativity and maybe I was naive in that too, thinking things had changed since my day.

The school mantra is so centered around academic success, sports achievements, and good grades to get a good job to earn good money and live a good ‘normal happy’ life, whatever that is?

This smoke screen picture of ‘ good normal happy life‘ though, distracts people because naturally every parent want’s their children to do well, to be well adjusted, to be intelligent, happy, successful and to fit in and live a happy life.


What parent wants their child to be an isolated, awkward questioner of authority creative type? 

And naturally free schooling for everyone sounds like a great idea. Even though it’s not really free and is actually compulsory….but that’s another story!

But this is not really the reality we live in is it?

It is by Design

What may surprise many people is this failing with schooling is not by accident or teacher incompetence but by Design. I’m going to push things out on a limb here so bare with me!

In Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto he suggested ten political points for developed countries.

Number 10 was this:

  • Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor and combination of education with industrial production.

State schooling was in fact brought into effect to support the industrial expansion of the West. What this really means today is people are being taxed to pay for public schooling that trains the young to work for the system and now to work to pay off public debt.

John Taylor Gatto Author and retired teacher explains in his books ‘Dumbing us Down‘ and ‘Weapons of mass instruction

Now this Agenda is hardly going to be brought about by encouraging and developing free thinking, highly creative and curious students.

And why am I quoting Marx when we live in a democracy you might ask?

Well I don’t want to get off point here but the underlying message is that our ‘so called‘ democracies are closer to Marx’s communist manifesto than people realize.

Now I don’t mind admitting that Marx’s manifesto is not all bad and it has largely been demonized. I don’t agree with all of it but it raises some interesting points when it comes to the Class struggle between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. The problem is that when the ruling class is forced to accept changes from the people they hijack it and it is obfuscated to look good but to not result in it’s original intention.

This is a good overview article on the communist manifesto if you have never actually read it. “What you need to know about the Communist Manifesto”

Because ‘The powers that be‘ have no real interest in allowing people to have a say in how things are run and the control of mass education is key to that.

Having a say through democracy is the illusion we are given to prevent enough of us asking awkward questions or worse still actually exercising people power and changing things!

Of course a lot of people will start shouting “Conspiracy theory or Socialist‘ at those last paragraphs but the fact is…. many people do that about anything they don’t want to hear anyway!

I merely encourage people to look at both sides for yourself not just to regurgitate what you hear from Politicians or the Media or worse gossip in the coffee shop or pub.


This is why the public education system is not designed to develop critical thinking and the democratic system is manipulated into a two horse race which ends in the same result either way!

So Creative and Artistic ability is heavily controlled now and is only accepted when it falls between a narrow set of defined parameters and suits to make a profit. This restricts the amount of free thinking ideas that are allowed to filter to the mass public.

Now something worth considering is this:

The Ruling Elite send their children to vastly different schools to be educated with completely different curricula that includes far more education on the Arts. I believe in some elite schools they still teach Trivium and Quadrivium

Because Creativity means breaking the rules!

I remember asking my boys a year or so after they had left school what they thought they had learnt and they both said  “Not much, how to follow rules basically“.

As a GenX man I am now haunted by that line in the song ‘Baggy Trousers’ from the 80’s band Madness!

So what is wrong with learning a few rules you might ask? Isn’t that a good thing that our children learn some discipline?

Of course the answer is yes. But that kind of understanding can and possibly should be taught by parent’s. Are we to hand over the complete teaching of life to a bunch of strangers in an Institution that is designed for a specific agenda? Do you honestly want your child to adhere to blind obedience?

As John Taylor Gatto also comments:

The Truth is that schools don’t really teach anything but blind obedience

When we talk about creativity then we therefore come up with a dilemma in relation to schooling. Because being creative often means breaking the rules, challenging the status quo and mainstream ideas and thinking. It means breaking away from the herd mentality and becoming an Individual.

Osho has some very insightful things to say about this

You can be creative only if you are an individual, you cannot create as a part of the mob psychology. The mob psychology is uncreative: it lives a life which drags – it knows no dance, no song, no joy, it is mechanical. He has to inquire in the jungles of life, he has to go alone, he has to be a dropout from the mob mind, from the collective psychology.

And it is those children who grow up into creative and free thinking individuals in society. It is those children who will question the status quo, challenge mainstream thinking and push the boundaries of accepted conformity.

It is those children who will deliver innovation, magnificent works of Art and be the drivers behind humanity’s progression and the building of better and beautiful futures.

And it is those children who also scare the hell out of the Ruling Class!!

E.Paul Torrence said:

Creative individuals tend to struggle in systems that force them to comply with rules they don’t understand”

That is why it is vitally important that we do not allow true creativity and free thinking in children to be continually suppressed and manipulated in schools. It is critical to achieving harmony and fairness within our societies!

So what is the solution?

Home school – Good idea if you can do it. I would certainly look at this very seriously if I had my time again with my kids. I know others now who are successfully home schooling their children.

Signs of Creative and Artistic Ability: If kids show any sign of creative leaning then I would be getting them into ‘out of school programs’ that can develop their creativity. Even if it means doing something yourself at home out side of the school curriculum.

Awareness: Raising awareness by not just accepting things the way they are as being normal. It is why I have written this post and continue to push this point publicly. Even though I no longer have kids in school I care about the future that is being built.

New Schools: I think this is where we should be looking to in the future. And a little back to the future here but I personally like the  idea of the Old Mystery School. Where real knowledge is taught. But how about new Schools that cater for the Creatives and Artists ?

To finish

As well as my own personal experiences as both a student and parent I have also provided list of some excellent resources below.

But to really put the finishing touch to this I would like to finish off with an excellent TED talk by Ken Robinson…..who poignantly but also humorously delivers some excellent points about this whole subject.

If you have found this article interesting you should certainly like this talk.



John Taylor Gatto:

E. Paul Torrence

Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto

For a good read about the Communist Manifesto this is a good article:


Ken Robinson

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1 thought on “Does the education system kill Creativity and Free Thinking

  1. Great article Dean, I totally agree that our education system does more harm than good as it is only geared towards helping children, repeat, conform and believe they are less than they are. One of my friends once said the only thing they learned from school was how to line up…

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