Dear Future President:
Arts education is very important, so why is there a decrease in arts education in the United States?
After the recession, school budgets became very limited. Schools had to make very difficult decisions regarding what programs to save and which to eliminate. Despite the multiple benefits of arts education, these programs are usually the first to be taken out. According to Association of American Educators, in the years 1999-2000, 20% of schools offered dance and theater; now, less than 5% offer these. With the Common Core, artistic electives -- especially Studio Art and Music-- aren’t emphasized as much as core subjects such as math and science. This is unfortunate because many students are missing out on the advantages of an arts education. For example, art programs stimulate students’ overall academic performance as well as inspire them to bring forth their creativity to solve problems. Schools with long-standing art programs have higher graduation rates because these programs foster collaborative communities and closer ties. Furthermore, according to Law Street Media, 33% of students are visual-learners, and they prefer learning through shapes, colors, and images-- especially when learning a foreign language.
If you look at countries that consistently rank highest in math and science test scores--like Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands--you will see that they make art classes and fine arts programs mandatory. I propose that we mandate art programs in schools nationwide because they are so beneficial to the academic performance of students. Not only will students be able to creatively express themselves, they also will apply their knowledge of art to their core subjects and stimulate their performances in these classes. Interest in art will also inspire students to participate in more extracurricular activities, creating more well-rounded students.
I know for myself, art saved me. I grew up in Vietnam during a time when technology was scarce. I depended on art supplies to entertain me; they didn’t disappoint. I grew up being very artistically driven in both visual arts and music. Art was my platform of personal expression and stimulating creativity. I've always desired to get the chance to take studio art classes and music classes. My school offered them, and I wouldn’t be the student I am today without those classes. Art has provided me with so many opportunities, and I wouldn’t be participating in so many extra-curricular activities if it hadn’t been for my school’s art programs. Art education made me a well-rounded student, and I want this to be available for students throughout the nation.
Core subjects are very essential, but art programs are also on the same level of importance. I hope that you will consider all of their benefits, and start to encourage schools to implement more art curriculum!