Each year the local school district, the state, and federal government discuss the funding for the new school year; there they decide where cuts need to be made, what is most important to students’ learning, and how to increase standardized test scores. When money becomes tight and the school board is looking for a way out of debt the first thing to go is the arts program. This includes theater, dance, music, and art. Each year more and more students are loosing out on the opportunity to take an art class or sing in a choir because the school board deemed math, science, and literature more important; however, what the committee is overlooking is the positive impact the arts have on students’ education, the experience and history taught through art education, as pushing student’s to think and express themselves.
When districts fund the arts in public schools there are also helping to increase students academic abilities. In a study done by Shirley Brice Heath, researcher at the Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, she observed students who are immersed in the arts for at least one full year are:
4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem (Ford& McMahon)
It is clear from the results that the arts are not just an extra curricular, but an integral part of the success of students. A student who has an arts education is likely to be more well rounded, as shown by this study, by being involved in math...
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...good learning tool at times, the arts does not baby students. Actors and actresses learn rejection and how to cope with failure to help them in the future. An arts education produces stronger, more creative, and more intuitive thinkers.
While critics will continue to argue that funding the arts is low on the list of priorities, that facts clearly show that an arts education benefits students more ways than one. Students equipped with an arts education are more successful in school, having better attendance, higher grades, as well as getting involved in more extra curricular activities. The arts provide teachers with a wide range of cross curricular learning enrich the students’ learning experiences. Most importantly, an arts education teaches students to think creatively. By allocating funds to the arts schools will be setting up students for success in their lives.
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