Art in Schools

Throughout the years, schools have been putting art programs on the backburner, but is that really a good idea? Numerous studies have shown that kids benefit from art and musical programs, especially kids from poorer families where such exposure would be unlikely in their own home life. Art education connected with better learning skills and interest in school, but still schools focus more on testing. But as testing scores drop should schools bring back art or is the state tests really needed to be focused on? Art programs have long been dismissed as frivolous add-ons and waste of school districts money, many programs being replaced with more strenuous academic programs that are put in place to boast funding and school ratings. While many point out that strong performance levels are important for schools they do appear to ignore the fact that it comes at the expense of kids who thrive in different environments. Where a child may not get an A from reading a biology book on anatomy a person can give that student a pen and paper and the human body comes to life as they draw it.

A quote commonly but mistakenly attributed to Albert Einstein sums up this scholastic phenomenon “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, It will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ” Many students excel in pure academic work, but not all students minds work that way. Ms. Charla Williams, a former math teacher I interviewed stated “There were many students who didn’t click with math, but that never meant they were any less intelligent then a student who did, they just had areas they were stronger in, but not all teachers saw it that way,” this quote goes in hand with what Esther McDowell, an art student said about her own time at school, “A lot of my teachers get annoyed because I’m not acing all my academic subjects but I have A’s in Art classes, but their disappointment makes me feel like a failure because I’m just not good at the normal subjects,” Many students echo the same sentiment.

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As educators put more and more emphasis on more academically challenged subjects, they seem to be unknowingly punishing those who are much better with a pencil or instrument in hand. In the past few years many schools have gone back on their decisions to cut their art programs and have started integrating art back into their schools as well as in some classrooms. While the number of schools are small their results show promising results. Teachers are teaching fractions with musical notes, encouraging children to create plays out of their history lessons, and even playing classical music in the hallways. All of these are simple ways to incorporate art education into everyday education.

So would other schools benefit from following in these schools footsteps?