In today’s economy, school boards have been cutting programs left and right.
Schools are losing arts funding, sports teams, clubs, and elective classes. These programs might seem logical to cut as opposed to offering fewer academic classes, but administrators and government officials who cut school funding fail to recognize how important extracurricular activities are to students. These “supplemental” classes are actually critical components to students’ education. Without extracurricular activities, many students will not receive the balanced education they need. According to Howard Gardner, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, students have nine different “types of intelligence,” or nine different ways of learning.
Some students learn best numerically and verbally – and these students are catered to well with academic classes – but most learn in non-academic ways like musically, athletically, and philosophically. Without music classes, sports teams, and other extracurricular clubs, these students do not receive the opportunities they need to take advantage of the types of intelligence they are best at using. Extracurricular activities also help students stay focused on their academic classes. According to Americans for the Arts, students who are involved in an art program in their school are more than three times less likely to drop out by tenth grade than students who are not. Moreover, a study by Cornell University found that students who participate in some sort of club are less likely to use drugs.
This is because students who find a passion in school enjoy learning more than students who only go to school because they are forced to. These students also spend more time engaging in productive activities and feel less need to experiment with risky behaviors. Students suffer when clubs and elective classes are cut. These programs educate students in ways academic classes will never be able to. Academic classes are important, but without elective classes and clubs, students do not develop the motivation needed to focus on their studies and stay in school. Also, without a diversity of programs, many students are opportunities to explore based on their different ways of learning.
Schools need to continue funding arts programs, sports teams, and extracurricular clubs if they want students to get the most out of school.