Visual Visual Arts as a Fundamental Component of School Education in the USA

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The Arts. It is a way of human expression and is part of the human experience. Art is a way of conveying our emotions, thoughts, and expressions through many different mediums. The Arts and the funding of the Arts is an ongoing conversation that has been taking place for many years now. A conversation that I want to add to and explore. The Arts are very important for the growth and versatility of the growing mind and also help provide youth with a well-rounded education. The Arts play such an important role in the development and expression of youth that without it, I fear the educational school system would not be the same. With proper funding, the Arts would not only bring about creative, outward thinking students, but it would also unfold vast opportunities for many.

The Arts are fundamental in the development of children because it helps children to develop their cognitive, visual, and physical skills. It allows for them to learn how to think for themselves, feel for themselves, see/imagine things their own way. All the arts help children find who they are and express themselves. The arts stir a part of the brain science and math are incapable of. For example when kids are painting they are using their whole body to paint. They use their arms, their upper torso, they use their hand and eye coordination and motor skills, which will later help with the act of writing. In a speech given by Dr Ken Robinson, Robinson states that, “ a balanced and coherent arts education is not an option in schools: it is a necessary part of a balanced and coherent education. When the arts are threatened in schools the quality of education as a whole is also threatened”. Dr. Rob allows his listeners to know that the arts are a piece in the education puzzle that should not be replaced. Because by replacing it or removing it they are lowering the quality of their education. Although the arts are very important, evidence from the last few years shows that students receiving arts education has reduced dramatically. For example, more than a third of New York's public schools are lacking in arts education. This trend is primarily because of money that is being put into other clubs and organizations in school rather than the arts.

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The arts are important for developing children because of its many benefits, but due to the lack of funding the arts have seen a decrease in schools. This decrease hurts schools that are not well funded the most. Lower-income schools rely on a coherent education to help bring success to their students, but if they are unable to provide them with a world-class education many would not see school as important. For example, when an independent visual arts space in Oklahoma City closed Many schools like Eugene Field Elementary School, a low income school, had no one to provide them with arts teachers, supplies, and so much more. Without the arts space some schools had no full time teachers. The visual arts space is a small example of why schools should have more stable funding because places like the visual arts space in Oklahoma are unreliable and will always need funding.

Funding for the arts can only happen if the view of the public encourages those in higher positions of its importance. The arts have always been something controversial because its either people find it necessary or unnecessary. One of the main reasons the arts is not as popular as the sciences is because it comes out of the taxes of many citizens along with government funding. Another way the arts are funded is through funding for nonprofits. “Federal funding for the arts and humanities rolls in around $250 million a year, while the National Science Foundation is funded around the $5 billion marks”. That is a very big difference. This just comes to show how much more money goes into the sciences while the arts are left to fend for themselves. “Elizabeth Maughan, the fine arts director for the State Department of Education believes there is more than one instigator in the low funding of the arts. She said a problem that arises in lower-income schools is that they are not able of maintaining programs. Which is the outcome of difficulty finding certified art teachers and funding “.

A solution to all these problems some would say is to make students pay for the arts like they do if they were going to play a sport. Some schools have taken up this way of funding the arts, but there are many low-income schools that can not afford to do this because the students that attend may also not be able to afford to pay for the arts. Another reason why schools with less income usually tend to drop the arts first and aren't able to compete with schools who have more money. Eliminating arts programs to save money is somewhat of a trend. This decline started in the early 1990s, where two-thirds of the schools in America had received budget cuts and had no art teachers. “Arts are usually the first to go simply because their impact is not measured by standardized tests”. Although the impact of the arts is not measured by standardized tests, a 2012 study conducted by USC Rossier, “noted that withholding arts education in order to designate more time for standardized testing subjects did not improve test scores. It actually correlated with lower scores at some schools.”

Standardized tests alone are not the only reason Arts are the first to go. Public views on the arts contribute to the funding and the not funding of the arts. In a well-written article, Kitty Carlisle talks on how changing public views could alter in benefits of the arts. She claims that, “ Government support for the arts in this nation is a healthy concept that merits public acceptance. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that government support of the arts helps leverage private support. The private donor-be it an individual, foundation, business, or corporation-is often more inclined to give to an arts organization if that group has received a seal of approval from an impartial source”. The people have the power to call for more funding for the arts and vice versa. It is a power that many may not be aware of, but it is there.
Arts are something that needs to be preserved. The arts are a basic component in early childhood education and development. It is something that need not be weighed by a standardized test. With adequate funding and public approval, this can happen. The benefits of the arts outway the drawbacks, and prove to be beneficial in all situations. The arts should not have to be dropped because it is not a sport, science, math, or because of lack of funding. Something that teaches us a way of experiencing life, social, physical, and emotional skills should not be easily overlooked. That is why we should continue to use our power as the people to voice our disapproval and to fight for the arts.

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