Schools should not be focused just on tested subjects
By BRENDA CASSELLIUS and MARINELL ROUSMANIERE on July 30, 2020
IN TIMES of great financial strain and uncertainty, arts education is often the first thing cut from the school curriculum. Indeed, several school districts across the Commonwealth have already laid off teachers and arts educators in the face of expected budget cuts and an unpredictable fall. Some districts may be anticipating a stricter focus on tested subjects when schools reopen to get students up to speed, but this is exactly the wrong time to be cutting arts programs.
With an ongoing global pandemic and heightened attention on racial injustice, students need arts education more than ever. The arts help students creatively engage with their classmates and communities, help combat isolation, and allow students to process their feelings and express themselves in ways that help them make sense of what’s happening in the world.
Arts education promotes positive development across the academic, social, and emotional realms. It is an essential part of a well-rounded education, not just enrichment or elective. Students involved in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. Students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education. And yet, despite the impressive benefits of arts education, not every student has access to these quality learning experiences.
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