Keeping The Arts In School Helps Critical Thinking

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It’s a lot easier to train someone to pound nails than it is to teach them to design the building. Yet, because of the new global economy, America’s future depends on creating as many architects as carpenters.

When asked what skills students will need to compete in the 21st century economy, employers responded that critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and creativity/innovation will be more important than the need for basic knowledge.

Anyone can do a search on Google to find how many major rivers flow through the United States, but asking a student to determine the environmental impact of a dam on that river or to solve an in-progress construction problem requires higher thinking skills. Tragically, our education system continues to return to the tired and worn out curriculum of memorization, worksheets and coloring within the lines.

Except for the arts.

Band and chorus, dance and drama, painting and drawing allow students to explore their limits.

An 11-year national study looking at low income youth found that students who participated in the arts were more likely to be high academic achievers, get elected to class office, participate in a math or science fair or write an award-winning poem or essay.

Students involved in the arts who took the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory scored higher in truth seeking, maturity and open-mindedness — all characteristics needed to work with diverse cultures, a changing environment, and rapidly evolving workplace skills.

We live with a global economy where creativity and innovation drives prosperity.

Might the arts in K-12 education keep America on the cutting edge?

Tips for safe driving in winter weather conditions

Winter has arrived as the second snow storm of the fall and winter season has left us with slick roads and beautiful scenery, as long as it lasts.

Driving in snow and winter conditions is far different than the rest of the year. Drivers need to remember that rain-slick roads and roads covered with snow make it harder to stop and you need to take turns much slower than normal.

In Payson there were several vehicles that slid off the roads when drivers decided to motor-along at their regular speeds instead of slowing down on the snow-covered roads.

It is easy to get into bad driving habits with all the sunshine we have. When bad weather hits, we have to remember to slow down and take it easy no matter what kind of vehicle we drive. In addition to slowing down, the Arizona AAA office offers some additional tips:

• Check road conditions before leaving home. To check road conditions motorists can call ADOT’s road condition hotline at 511 or visit their Web site at www.az511.com.

• Slow down. Motorists should reduce their speed in wet or snowy conditions to maintain traction and control, and to reduce their risk of getting into a crash.

• Keep a safe distance. If you are driving in wet or snowy conditions, give yourself at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

• Brake gently to avoid skidding, and use low gears to avoid losing traction. Also, do not engage your vehicle’s cruise control, as you can more easily lose control on wet roads.

• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.

• Pack an emergency car kit that includes at least: flashlight, flares, jumper cables, a basic repair kit, a cell phone, and kitty litter to help stuck tires regain grip in snow or mud. Also carry extra food, water, clothes and blankets in your vehicle should you have to wait for assistance.

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