By Jennifer Delgado ’17
Many students around the country, and perhaps the world, may be wondering why their school careers are not anything like the Disney Channel movie franchise “High School Musical”, depicting the lives of high school students where musicality is the center of the main characters’ lives, aside from their other in-school activities and academics. Although many school systems argue that arts education cuts back time to higher educational priorities, others impose the arts as an essential foundation to creative development.
Theater, art, painting, singing, dancing, and instrument playing are all defined as arts. Many, if not all, of these arts are being incorporated into many schools’ curriculums for its beneficial approach. The National Education Association also gives a stand to support the arts education. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel expressed in the article The Good and Bad News About Arts Education in U.S Schools by neaToday, “The arts are important. They enrich our lives. They have always offered ways to learn and and express ideas.” Maybe it is not all about being in the 90th percentile in core subjects but having students being able to think critically in a visual, broader scope. Not only do arts give students a healthy way to challenge their time other than their academics, they arguably increase standardized test scores. A 2002 report by the Arts Education Partnership discovered that students involved in arts education are often better at reading, math, and writing.
Some may say that having students exposed to other learnings aside from academics is important but having more focus on core subjects, is much essential to expand students’ academic horizons. Arts are seen is separately from learning core subjects, focused on expression than on skill development. Because of deep budget cuts, many schools lack arts education, forcing their students to simply focus on the core subjects. The No Child Left Behind Law had about 3,412 National Education Association random members respond to an online survey regarding the management of arts in education. Research from the AEP Wire stated, “A vast majority of respondents (84%) reported that because of NCLB, schedules in their programs have either increased interruptions, conflicts and problems, or have become more complicated.” Managing an arts program at a school can be extremely difficult: having to prove the students are effectively learning the arts.
Whether or not the majority of the nation’s schools have arts programs intertwined with academics or not, it is needless to say that the arts, whether it is dancing, singing, painting, or instrument playing, have opened doors for children, teens, and adults to express themselves.