If teaching students to be creative is one of the highest goals of education, we have a problem. The United States as a nation is becoming less, not more creative according to the assessments. That’s right, the scores on are getting lower. Initially after Torrance Test of Creative Thinking gain wide spread usage in schools test scores rose in similar manner to the Flynn effect on IQ test. ( IQ test have to be standardized repeatedly or else the general population scores slowly increase. ) The scores for creativity increase in a fairly linear manner until the 1990′s. Then, they started to decline, with the biggest decrease in elaboration, the ability to expand and add details to a creative concept.
What exactly is the reason for this decrease? Increasing electronic communication has been blamed. According to Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University , the constant checking of phone texts and social media provides a connection lost because of declining face to face interaction. Finding a responses to a status changes provides a dopamine boost that reduces anxiety. However the constant multitasking required to stay connected decreased creativity, too. He finds the fact that the scores on Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking fell sharply in 1998 for younger students no coincidence. 
Even early in his work E.P. Torrance (1963) found other reasons that creativity might be discouraged. people who come up with original ideas are characteristically absorbed in their work, and do not take the time or effort to be polite. They often refuse to take no for an answer, and level criticism at others. Creative children have a lot of the same traits, which can be viewed as “obnoxious” by teachers. Torrance warned educators that they needed to deal with these negative aspects of students’ personalities without discouraging creativity. However, that might not be possible. Part of the decline may be the due to the students attempts to get along with others.
Later, Myers and Torrance (1980) claimed that teachers said they were rewarding creativity when they were actively punishing it. Westby and Dawson (1995) proposed that creativity is being killed, unintentionally, by educators who do not actually recognize it. When they tested college students to find out which characteristics they thought correlated with creativity and non-creativity, their answers matched past psychologists’ findings about 95% of the time. However, when a group of teachers in grade school were asked about the same traits, the correlation was about 50%. They thought students who were uncreative if they were:
- making up rules as they went along
- trying to do the impossible
- not fond of working with others when making new things
Even though, all the above traits are those that correlate with higher levels of creative thinking, most teachers did not see this. They claimed they liked creative students. However, they warped the definition to match students that were easier to control in class. 
I recall sitting in an advance education class a few years ago. One of the teachers had brought a collection of poems her students had written that she wanted to make into a book. We were trying to suggest more original ways to illustrate the poems than by using unimaginative clip art. Her favorite was a set of stanzas with perfect spelling and rigid rhymes; the words fell pretty much as expected. The professor pointed out a different quite compelling piece in which the young poet describe her own struggles and inability to meet expectations. However, her teacher did see it was a vastly more creative work because she did not particularly like the student.
Art by S.L. Listman
 Bronson, Po, and Merryman, Ashley (2010) The Creativity Crisis, Newsweek.
 Joel Stein, Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation
 Myers, R.E. and Torrance, E.P. (1961) Can teachers encourage creative thinking? Educational Leadership 19, 156-159
 Torrance, E.Paul (1963) The Creative Personality And The Ideal Pupil. Teachers College Record, 65, 220-226
 Westby, Erik.L. and Dawson,V.L. (1995) Creativity: Asset or Burden in the Classroom? Creativity Research Journal. Vol 8, No 1, 1-10