Chances are your IQ score is 20 points higher than your grandparents.
That’s according to the Flynn Effect, the political scientist who discovered average IQ scores in the West have steadily risen over the last 100 years. A conclusion which brings us to what we call today our best-and-brightest.
From Washington, Harvard and the Yankees in the East to Silicon Valley, Stanford and the Giants in the West, that’s who we want. Who we pay the big bucks. Who we say we’ll follow. But wait a minute — how do we actually define best-and-brightest? What do these people look like? And how can we spot them?
Couple reasons why so many more are out there. Better nutrition, better healthcare, better problem-solving experiences ranging everywhere from playing video games to manipulating computers to having to make sense of complexities like the Harry Potter series.
However, once we identify the best-and-brightest IQs, now what….?
Here’s where we run into a glitch. While Flynn’s research shows “high IQ scores correlate with high grades and good job performance,” Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware argues “….pure intelligence is a useful tool, but not a virtue.” In an especially challenging statement she adds: “In other words, people today might be better problem-solvers on paper than previous generations, but that doesn’t mean they will be willing to do what’s necessary to, say, solve the problems the US economy faces today.”
That concern comes from results like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Here there is evidence that while IQs remain on the rise, for the last 20 years children’s ability to come up with original ideas and put them into practice has been “spiraling downward.” Especially among children grades 1 through 6 ever since 1990.
College professors are about as plentiful as bloggers — which makes you wonder about their value! In any case, here’s what Professor Kyung Hee Kim of the William & Mary School of Education has to say. Examining the Torrance Tests, she told USA Today: “There’s something wrong with today’s standards-obsessed schools and legislators. Creative students cannot breathe. They are suffocated in schools, leading in the long run to under-achievement.”
When I was teaching at the dramatic dawn of the media & computer age, I often felt our kids were coming to school to have their educations interrupted. John Ruskin found the right words for my fear: “What we think, what we know, even what we believe is in the long run of little consequence to our world. The only thing of consequence is what we do…!”
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