Does Our Education System Stifle Future Lady Gagas?

A too-narrow view on what skills are "useful" to American society could eliminate a generation of artistic prodigies like Lady Gaga.

The United States' current education model tends to stifle student creativity and innovation in favor of training docile worker bees. According to Yong Zhao, an expert on global education at the University of Oregon, a too-narrow view on what skills are "useful" to American society could eliminate a generation of artistic prodigies like Lady Gaga.

Beyond the meat dress and other red carpet antics, Lady Gaga is an entrepreneur who employs countless designers, choreographers, dancers, and stylists. If she'd been educated at a school that didn't encourage artistic and musical capacities, she'd probably be working in a random office doing who-knows-what.

If you're sick of Gaga, that might seem like a great idea, but the broader point is that budding artists of any kind need some help to become stars. And they're not likely to get that help these days, because the government tend to have a narrow view of which talents are worth cultivating. Indeed, over the past decade, the federal government has pushed standardized test-heavy education reforms like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top while eliminating instructional time for art and other creative pursuits.

Yong writes that in his hometown in China, skilled farmers and buffalo herders are seen as the most useful jobs, so Lady Gaga might have been forced to pursue one of those paths instead of her passion. The story in American schools may be slightly less extreme, but the point remains: art and music aren't seen as useful or necessary skills here either, so too many schools continue to "educate" away the passion and raw talent students bring to the table.

So whether you're a Gaga fan or not, you should be rooting for kids to follow in her footsteps. Stifling artistic talents, especially from people who also have an entrepreneurial streak, wouldn't be good for the American economy.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons


A two-minute television ad from New Zealand is a gut punch to dog lovers who smoke cigarettes. "Quit for Your Pets" focuses on how second-hand smoke doesn't just affect other humans, but our pets as well.

According to Quitline New Zealand, "when you smoke around your pets, they're twice as likely to get cancer."

Keep Reading
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading