Cuts in school art programs may be the reason the United States is falling behind in science and math
Let’s take a minute and imagine if creativity didn’t exist, that art never reared it’s beautiful face on our Planet Earth. Let’s take that airplane out the sky, and remove that car from the road. Matter of fact, let’s just remove the whole road. I mean, if art and creativity are worthless, why should we benefit from it’s fruits. I know these circumstances seem extreme, but for today’s children, loosing their imagination could become a reality.
Every year, art education programs from all around the country are being cut from children’s educational curriculum. In 2014, Renaissance High in Detroit, Michigan, a school known for it’s celebrated music program, lost said music program so the city of Detroit could save money.
As schools across the country face budget shortfalls, a common cost-cutting measure is to slash funding for arts education, prioritizing instead what are deemed to be more essential subjects such as math, reading, and science. Public schools in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago and Philadelphia have all joined Detroit in recent years.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of mathematics and the sciences, but these practical subjects produce specific results. When a student is doing mathematics and science, they can’t make a mistake. One error and all the work is ruined. But when it comes to art, therefore creativity, one mistake, and the work becomes interesting.
Developing a child’s creativity can be just as important as developing math and science skills, if not more so. Students who study art are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. Yet federal funding for the arts and humanities is estimated to be around $250 million a year, while the National Science Foundation is funded around the $5 billion mark. Perhaps this is why, despite the massive investment, the United States is still only ranked 28th in the world in science.
The art deficiency that today’s children encounter will affect them as they become older. In a letter called “See, Compare, Reason, Decide” written by Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, Mrs. Faust discusses the anxieties students have about choosing an Art or Humanities degree as a college major. She states, “It seems that every few weeks another column or report comments on bleak job prospects for recent graduates who did not major in something useful.” She adds, “Short-term snapshots translate into real anxiety for students and their parents, and it’s imperative that we continue to make the case for education that encourages flexibility and invites change.” Well said President Faust, well said.
When a child is taking a painting or writing class, they are not just learning how to put silly things on paper. What they are learning is how to interpret, analyze, design, and most importantly they are learning how to innovate.
Regardless of what profession one is in, employers love innovative employees. Individuals that know to create and are able to think outside the box. They admire thinkers that can generate ideas and take their company brand to the next level. So tell that future artist to keep splattering paint on the wall, and encourage that up and coming jazz genius to keep practicing on that stairwell. Don’t let them eat cake. I’d rather live in artistic chaos than practical tidiness.