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The Importance of the Arts
The difficult economic times have seen school budgets getting cut lower and lower, leading them to cut both jobs and programs to save more money. The arts programs have been an unfortunate target, often becoming the first program to be cut. Times may be difficult but arts programs should definitely not be cut in any school. Studies have shown many excellent benefits which schools should be more reluctant to let go of.
Studies have shown many useful benefits of keeping the arts programs in schools. Many studies have shown that students enrolled in an arts program are 4 times as likely to be recognized for academic achievements, to participate in science or math fairs, and to win awards for exceptional essays or poetry. Studies also show that students enrolled in such programs are 3 times as likely to be elected as a class officer, and to win a school attendance award. More studies have even related a link between arts programs and better test scores (Academic…). In a time where the “No Child Left Behind” policy specifically emphasizes test scores, these benefits seem to be worth keeping the arts program alive.
Many of high school students enrolled in the arts began with a rotating “specials” program in elementary school. The “specials” program led them through small classes exposing
them to music, art, math, science, a computer lab, and sometimes dance or another class, such as global studies, which differed school to school. When students completed elementary school, they had the option to take an arts class in school such as chorus, drama, art, orchestra, or band in middle school. In high school, they often have the choice to take different types of band, chorus, orchestra, art, drama, or the added options of music theory, music appreciation, art appreciation, or art history. As you can see that’s quite a number of classes and thus there are quite a number of students enrolled in those classes. Therefore, if the program is cut those students will have to take other classes which they might not find any interest in. It’s well known that students who have no interest in a class are more likely to skip or to not turn in assignments.
Despite so many schools choosing to drop their arts programs there are some who see the benefits and appreciate their program even more. Powell Middle School in Spring Hill, Florida managed to turn their school into a public performing arts school. They introduced more performing classes that other schools in the county didn’t offer and, even though we all know that the times are tough, they managed to do this with the help of fundraising instead of cancelling another program. Students who aren’t zoned for the school are also allowed to apply to attend if they have an interest in the arts. One county in Texas has a page with what they believe the benefits of the arts are;
“Arts education benefits the student because it cultivates the whole child, gradually building many kinds of literacy while developing intuition, reasoning, imagination, and dexterity into unique forms of expression and communication. This process requires not merely an active mind but a trained one. An education in the arts benefits society because students of the arts gain powerful tools for understanding human experiences, both past and present. They learn to respect the often very different ways others have of thinking, working, and expressing themselves. They learn to make decisions in situations where there are no standard answers. By studying the arts, students stimulate their natural creativity and learn to develop it to meet the needs of a complex and competitive society. And, as study and competence in the arts reinforce one other, the joy of learning becomes real, tangible, and powerful.” (Benefits…).
Other schools should pay more attention to these examples and realize that their arts program is an important and beneficial educational program that influences students to be better in life and school.
Both the performing and visual arts program is an immensely important program in each and every school. They offer benefits that many other programs do not, which include higher test scores. The program also gives students something to look forward to every day and encourages them not to skip. The benefits of the program far outweigh any reasons to cut it from the budget and thus many schools should reconsider their decisions.
"Academic Benefit of the Fine Arts." Blog. K12 Directory of Schools. Com. Web. 21 Mar. 2010.
"The Benefits of Arts Education." Lamar CISD. Web. 21 Mar. 2010.
Pogrebin, Robin. "Book Tackles Old Debate: Role of Art in Schools." New York Times. 4 Aug. 2007. Web.
21 Mar. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/>.