Photo via: La Cannella Frago
Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (2011) reflect on the state of the United States in That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behindin the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back and boldly state the following: “America plays a huge and, more often than not, constructive role in the world today. But that role depends on the country's social, political, and economic health. And America today is not healthy—economically or politically” (2011, p. xi). As the title suggests, the authors contend that the United States is failing to overcome the challenges of the current day. Should this pattern persist, the United States will no longer be recognized as a leader of nations. The revolution in information technology is identified as one of the four main challenges posed to the United States. The authors address this challenge and call for the revitalization of creative, critical thinking. In today’s altered world, there is a dire need for an education that inspires. According to Friedman and Mandelbaum (2011), the education system in the United States is in flux, continually changing in response to advances in technology. They contend that “the world increasingly will be divided between high-imagination-enabling counties, which encourage and enable the imagination and extras of their people, and low-imagination-enabling countries . . .” (2011, p. 138). American educators are thus posed with the challenge of inspiring imagination and teaching students to become workers in a world defined by the knowledge economy. In order to maintain its international competitiveness, the United States must be counted among the “high-imagination-enabling counties.” Such a feat, however, is not easily recognized.