Public schools should continue to fund the arts

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Public schools should continue to fund the arts

Parker Grogan, Staff Columnist

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In the past, several presidents have attempted and sometimes succeeded in cutting government funding for arts programs in public schools. While I do understand the need to cut spending somewhere, it should not affect the arts. I think this aspect of education fosters the most creativity and most applicable skills for the real world in comparison to those offered by other subjects.

While students learn the basics of certain skill sets necessary in the job market through English, math and science, arts programs directly impact the behaviors, willingness and ability of students to be successful in other areas. For example, according to a report by Americans for the Arts, young people who regularly participate in the arts are four times more likely to be academically successful and to volunteer to be a part of science fairs and writing competitions. Additionally, a study of Missouri public schools in 2010 found that the more arts education students have, the less likely they are to require disciplinary action.

During adolescent development, students who receive a thorough arts education experience great effects. For instance, according to Kenneth Elpus, an associate professor of music education, students of the arts are significantly more optimistic about their future paths, are less likely to use drugs and consume alcohol and experience a 20 percent reduction in their likelihood of being expelled from school.

Not only do arts programs make students more successful in the short term, they also increase a student’s likelihood of attending college. According to another one of Elpus’ works, arts students were about 30 percent more likely to apply to college than non-arts students. Arts students also applied to more colleges than non-arts students did, indicating that they are just as successful and possibly more ambitious than students who do not receive an arts education.

Furthermore, as adults, people’s backgrounds in arts impacts them. According to Elpus, people who have a background in the arts are 55.38 percent more likely to have attended college and are significantly less likely to be arrested.

While the arts do seem like an easy area to cut spending, they are obviously important in creating a successful, determined, hard-working and passionate youth to lead our country in the future. Furthermore, students who enroll in an arts class often use them as their creative outlet, allowing them to gain the innovative learning strategies necessary to create non-profits or become entrepreneurs.

Additionally, art programs show students their potential and, thus, develop confidence and self-worth in them. Students have different skill sets, so only allowing children to experience math and science classes when their true talents lie in the arts is an injustice to them. Students who are never exposed to the wide range of study areas and career opportunities will fail to measure their self-worth accurately or realistically, leaving them with a more pessimistic outlook of the real world. Without programs such as arts education, students are stuck in a monotonous routine that structures their way of thinking to be strictly inside the box, when most successful people today are where they are because of their creative way of thinking.