I’ve always been told that I will never get a job as a high school art teacher. I’ve been told that nobody will want to hire me because art is “not an important subject” and “doesn’t benefit anything.” Hearing this almost crushed my dreams, but after doing some research, I found that all the nay-sayers are wrong. It is a sad day when art is seen as a disposable subject by so many. Life today is all about what new technology is coming out to move us forward.
But in the push led by President Obama for American youth to learn math and science, the finer aspects of life are being undermined. In this fast-paced world, there often seems to be no room for creative expression or appreciation of the beauty around us. Our educational system is a web of standardized tests and scores. Information is force-fed to students in a futile effort to help them perform well on tests which will make the school district look better in the eyes of the government. This, to me, is the saddest part.
What good is an engineer or scientist who hasn’t learned how to express her creativity? We are raising a generation of robots who are told that memorizing is more important than advocating for their own freedom and expressing themselves creatively. This lack of love for the creative arts in school sickens me. Because students aren’t tested on creativity by the state, art classes aren’t considered as important as math and science. It’s not surprising that art programs are being cut while the economy is in its current condition. For schools to keep their art programs, teachers need to demonstrate how their classes help students achieve academic success and raise their test scores. As shown in a study by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, art classes of all types do help improve test scores.
Not surprisingly, students and faculty agree: these classes are beneficial. And even with this crippling system, the job market for arts educators is not in a decline. According to a national study by the Department of Education, major declines in art programs have only occurred in high-need areas. Nationwide, it’s a different story. Most of the country has not seen a significant decline in middle school or high school art programs, even with the massive budget cuts that school districts have faced in recent years.
I am happy the state of art education is not as critical as everyone seems to think. Unfortunately, students who are affected by these budget cuts are those who need art the most. Low-income districts need creative outlets for students too. Of the students who wish to continue an education in the arts beyond high school, most cannot afford an art institute. These are some of the most expensive schools in the nation, and often they don’t lead to jobs with the financial return of other areas of study. We live in a world where art is being swatted away like a pest, which is sad for many who share the sentiments of artist Diana Gilon: “I believe art is one of the most powerful tools we have to communicate and make changes within our society.
” Art has helped me learn patterns and consistencies that are needed in mathematical and scientific fields, along with just about all I do in day-to-day life. I have found peace in art. Now that I have a way to show the world how I feel and I see everything around me, I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like to lose that outlet because my school had to cut art programs.