Opinion: Arts are needed in schools

By Sloan Kyler — Ask any teacher, student or parent; the four core parts of an education are math, science, English and social studies or history. No one would debate the necessity or importance of these subjects but it is truly appalling as to how many people would never think to involve the study of the arts in education.
Yes, everyone should know how to read, write and reduce fractions but it has become more and more clear over the years that the inclusion of both visual and performing arts in schools is not considered to be a top priority.

Funding for art programs in school have dropped substantially since 2007 and according to a study by the Grantmakers in Arts, the estimated total direct expenditures on the arts by local governments dropped to about $600 million in 2012, the lowest it has been since 1998.

This drop in arts program funding directly reflects the attitude towards the arts in general in this country. Artistic activities are not regarded by the public at large as worthwhile or constructive activities for students to take part of in school.

Studies conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts have shown that students who engage in the arts have higher rate of academic achievement, are more civilly engaged and set higher career goals. Thus, providing more funding to schools nationwide to better their performing and visual arts programs would be beneficial not only to test scores but would help society to benefit as well by increasing youth involvement in the community at large.

The performing and visual arts stimulate creativity and individuality in young people and participating in the arts is needed to become a more well rounded and fully-fleshed person. In this respect, the inclusion of the arts into education is just as important as the inclusion of academic subjects.

The arts are an important part not only of education but also of society as a whole. The only way to change the negative standing the arts has in society’s eyes is to be an active supporter of those involved in the arts by attending and supporting choir concerts, dance recitals, plays and exhibitions of art.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]