Art and Music Programs are Under Attack At Most Schools

If the Congress, state and local municipalities get their way and cut funding to art and music programs, there will be no need for paintbrushes, fingerpaints, or musical instruments in the 2010-11 school year.

Changes, and cuts in funding for extracurricular and co-curricular activities, including music and arts programs, mean the death of our children’s music and arts educations, and it is happening right now across the country. The smaller municipalities are the first to make such cuts, according to the Leader Herald of Gloversville/Johnstown, New York, a region in the impoverished Mohawk Valley, “in the short-term, several districts are considering reducing full-day kindergarten to half-day programs. Elementary art and music instruction is on the chopping block in many districts, including Gloversville, Amsterdam and Fonda-Fultonville.”

According, studies demonstrate that participating in arts programs can help children read and write better, be more focused in class, raise test scores, develop higher self-esteem, and solve problems more creatively.

  • Continuing a trend noted in studies in 1998 and 1999, students of the arts, in all categories and disciplines outperformed their non-arts peers on the SAT in 2000. (The College Board 2000 College-Bound Seniors: A Profile of SAT Program Test-Takers, 2001)
  • Arts programs can help high risk children get better grades and have a better attitude about learning. In just one year in the “Different Ways of Knowing” program, high-risk elementary students gained 8 percentile points on standardized language arts tests.
  • Arts programs can accelerate a student’s progress in reading. In the New York City “Learning to Read through the Arts” program, students improved an average of one to two months in reading skills for every month they participated.
  • Creativity and critical thinking skills are developed through the arts. The National Center for Gifted and Talented (University of Connecticut) found that students involved in the arts were more motivated to learn than those not involved in the arts. They also exhibited more imaginative, flexible, and critical thinking skills.
  • Arts programs are the best developer of creativity – a vital skill for problem solving and innovative thinking. After participating in an arts curriculum for one year, children in two Ohio school districts tested four times higher in creativity than children who were not enrolled in the program. It is believed that creative thinking skills learned early in a child’s development will last a lifetime.

    ezinearticles.Com states, it’s no secret that art and music programs are under attack at most schools because of the recent cutbacks due to the economy. However a recent report has concluded that learning the arts nurtures the development of social, personal, and cognitive skills. As most of us already know these three skills are the foundations of our survival. Programs which are based around the arts are shown to improve academic achievement and decrease the tendency towards delinquent activities.

    Art programs involve communication, interpretation and understanding of complex symbols similar to mathematics and foreign languages. Learning these skills helps to develop high order analytical skills as well as skills of evaluation and synthesis. Many art programs make the child regularly use different skills in turn making them very dynamic and versatile. This helps children form positive attitudes about themselves and others while building self-esteem.

    Art programs also offer some extra perks like development of imagination, judgment and philosophy. As opposed to the 45 minute duration of typical classroom settings at school, the extra time allotted in after school activities gives your child more time to get involved. This gives the latent capabilities of your child more time to shine. This in turn allows your child to learn to set higher standards of achievement. They begin to understand how to focus for longer periods of time which results in the road to excellence.

    If your child seems to be a little withdrawn, theater, speech or drama lessons are an excellent outlet for hidden emotions. This helps your child to verbalize emotions and express thoughts and feelings that they normally might suppress. This is one of the major reasons why so many art based are such a popular activity. Let Federal, state and local officials know we value art and music education in our schools.

  • Russell W. Dickson, lives in upstate NY, and is a Freelance journalist. He has written for both print and online news/opinion pages.Russell holds a B.A. in English, minor Journalism from The University at Albany, Albany, NY. His writing experience spans more than a decade and his work has graced the pages of newspapers, magazines, online news orgs, and political websites in both the U.S. and abroad.