Budget Cuts and the Loss of Art Classes

All across the country schools of every level are experiencing budget cuts consequently leading to a loss in classes. In most schools the first to be cut are art classes and programs such as: music, dance, theatre and art.

Those in opposition of the loss of art classes believe that these subjects are important to child development. About 33 percent of children are visual learners meaning they take in most of their information from images. Art classes help improve hand-eye coordination and visual-spatial skills. Visual art classes also help develop and define fine motor skills. Simply picking up a paintbrush and making strokes on a piece of paper or even holding safety scissors and cutting a piece of paper both improve a child’s motor and dexterity skills.

These people also argue that music classes promote some of the longest lasting affects in children. Music classes improve communication in children by stimulating brain function and connecting the hemispheres of the brain . Studies by Frances Rauscher and Gordon Shaw in the late 90’s proved that listening to specific Mozart piano sonatas boosted college-age subjects’ spatial-reasoning skills. Many people took this to the media saying, “Mozart makes you smarter”, and thus the “Mozart Effect” was born.

Last these people argue that art classes inspire creativity within the youth. Art classes and programs provide incentive for at-risk youths to stay off the street, out of correctional facilities, and in school. Not to mention art classes tend to improve performance and children in these classes tend to have higher graduation rates. Students in these classes are three time more like to earn and bachelor’s degree in college while students who did not take these classes are five times more likely to drop out of school.

On the other hand there are those in approval for the loss of art classes and programs. These people argue that the schools receive budget cuts because students are placing low-test scores and placing below the Common Core State Standards. They argue that a loss of extra curricular activities will put more of an emphasis on core classes such as: math, science, and reading. In fact the Common Core State Standard, which 46 states are implementing in the programs, does not include art in its core.

Not only do they focus on the Common Core State Standards but they also take into account The No Child Left Behind Act. They believe that it is more important for children that are falling behind to focus on their core classes than art classes. Because both of these standards have a high emphasis on the core classes and these standards are so important to many schools, there is no need for the art classes so they are the first to be cut

This is an extremely important debate because the future of our youth’s education is at stake. Is it better to cut art classes to provide an emphasis on core classes, or keep these classes to provide students with an outlet for improving a wide variety of developmental processes?

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