According to the article “Why Arts Education is Crucial, and Who’s Doing it Best”, art education is important because it reaches us on so many levels. The article mentions such things as, “academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement and equitable opportunity.” The article goes on to mention that the arts can help in all subjects including but not limited to; “math, reading cognitive abilities (critical thinking) and verbal skills”.
So some people may see the importance of the arts, but why is it so important that we still implicate them in school? One reason is that where many people are lucky enough to have parents that are interested in the arts and can afford to put there children in an art activity outside of school, or at least expose their children to it, not all students are so lucky. Some students may be in dance, or after school art programs. Some students may have parents or grandparents that take them to art museums etc. Yet other students may not have the funds to be in programs or to go to museums. Having these in our school gives those other students the chance they need to be exposed to the arts, and to help them “bloom” as an individual.
Unfortunately the No Child Left Behind had put a dent in people’s idea that we need arts in the schools. People believe that more time should be spent in the class room learning basic math and language skills to pass the state tests, than to be spent in an art class room. “Arts are lovely but not essential”, is the way the paper states it.
The article also gives light that some schools are realizing that arts can be used IN the classroom to help teach the basics. For example music notes and sheet music help in math content areas. As well as readers theater help in understanding historical events, or it might also help with fluency in reading. The article does state that these trials in the classrooms are still in the early stages but they are showing great results as to how we are trying to prove that art helps an individual as a whole. Tom Horne (Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction) even states with these results that, “If they’re worried about their test scores and want a way to get them higher, they need to give kids more art’s, not less. There’s lots of evidence that kids immersed in the arts do better on their academic tests.”
Where some schools are keeping the arts in their curriculum they are cutting down drastically on the time that is spent in these class rooms. Just because we have the program does not mean anything, you have to utilize it too! Not only is the time spent in these classrooms being cut but also the educators in the building that teach the subjects too.
Another scary thought is that now that the arts are being pulled so far from curriculum that it will take large investments and time to implement them back. Yet we do have cities making the arts implements their goal. In Dallas they are getting students out into the art community in their own neighborhoods. Even in the elementary school level they are in the arts for 45 minutes a week! They realized –“that students flourish when creativity drives learning.” Another state is Arizona with the help of a Mr. Tom Horne, who has raised 4 million dollars, and re-implemented arts into schools that have not seen programs in decades. He states that we are teaching children three things: How to prepare for jobs, how to be citizens and how to enjoy the deeper forms of beauty. “The third is as important as the other two,” states Horne.
I personally feel a strong connection to the arts and a sadness that they are not in schools…