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The Arts in Public Schools: Is It a Priority or Not?


Submitted By missmiss94
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“Missy Thoma
Professor Murphy
English 131
9 October 2014
The Arts in Public Schools: Is It a Priority or Not?
Everyone has taken some type of art program in school. Whether it was music, art, drama, creative writing, or visual arts. Some students may have learned something from it like any other class. The arts programs are very important to many students especially when they reach high school. They want to take that class and turn it into their career. Though some say it is not an important class and a distraction to the more important classes such as math, science, and English. The art and music programs in public schools are very important to the education for students.
There is a debate that is currently suggesting that the education of art and music is linked to the “Educate America Act of 2000, which outlines the goals and standards for the nation’s education” (Flynn, 2011). According to the “Educate America Act lists arts education as a part of the core curriculum, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the NEA are the federal agencies that are responsible for the federal funds for arts education; and to them the arts education is one of the lowest priorities” (Flynn, 2011). Many public schools offer art and music education at the levels of elementary school. It is a more local decision that is made to fund art and music education in higher school levels, which higher levels provide art and music classes that are optional to the students (Flynn, 2011).
Seven successful universities had cognitive neuroscientists discover a relation between the education of art and the way students think, solving problems, and understanding the concept of information processing (The Dana Foundation, 2008). Many studies were performed on students that are involved in an arts program vs. students that are not involved. The overall results suggest that students involved in the arts develop attention skills and long term memory that also apply to other subjects in school (The Dana Foundation, 2008). “One of the studies performed concluded that students involved/experienced in music performance scored 53 points higher on the verbal portion on the SAT and 39 points higher on the math portion than students that are not involved/experienced in the arts” (The Dana Foundation, 2008).
Since the arts programs are optional courses in high levels of education, less students take those classes. “According to Shirley Brice Heath, researcher at the Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, art programs have a huge impact on children’s lives. For example, Brice notes that those students who participate in the arts for at least three hours, three days a week through at least one full year are more likely to be acknowledged for academic achievements. They are also more likely to be elected class office in their schools, to participate in a math and science fair, to win an award for school attendance, and to win an award for writing an essay or poem” (Ford & McMahon, 2011).
Students need to learn that being creative is just as important as any other skill. The arts programs can teach those skills better than any math, science, and reading classes. For example, I was in the choir which is one of the art programs at my high school. Not only did I learn about music and how to sing in that class, I learned how to improve myself. I learned that the only way I can become less shy and more outgoing is by stepping out of my comfort zone. Music had helped me overcome that fear of trying something new, especially when I had to perform a new piece in front of many people. I learned how to work with others because that is what choir is all about, teamwork. It takes patience, hard work, determination, an open mind, and team work to be a professional in any art program. Students can learn those skills in other activities such as sports but not everyone is good at sports, just like not everyone is skilled in the arts. Sports are more than highly funded at public schools, so why should the art programs be left out?
Although the research that was stated earlier, have shown that students who participate in the arts program perform better in other classes. Studies have also shown that the DOE have found a positive connection between the arts and success in other classes such as math and reading. Some people believe that the arts are not important to student’s education, especially when there are limited funding for schools. It still has a big impact on student’s lives and can improve their skills in other classes and in life. For example, earlier when I stated that I learned how to work as a team, it improved my life forever. I better improved my teamwork and social skills that I eventually received a job for my impressive social skills and teamwork. Not only did that class help me improve my knowledge of music, it earned me a job and allowed me to go away to experience more new things. Arts can turn a hobby or small skill into a career, but the students will never know that if the arts are taken away from them.

Reference Page
The Dana Foundation. (2008). Learning, arts, and the brain (C. Asbury & B. Rich, Ed.). Retrieved from
Flynn. (2011). Arts & music in public schools: An overview. Retrieved from Points of View Reference Center database. (Accession No. 23625759)
Ford, A., & McMahon, M. (2011). Point: The arts are a vital part of education. Retrieved from Points of View Reference Center database. (Accession No.23575236)

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