In recent times, the economy has plummeted at a horrific rate. We can see it in our everyday life, from how much our produce costs to the price we pay for gas. But one thing that we may not see until it’s to late is the damage caused by the funding cuts for the arts programs and education in America. In addition to impeding American children’s educational and moral development, we revert to a poor cultural quality by lowering our standards of arts education due to the poor economic condition of our nation. Even though this should be one of the more important programs for our government’s Department of Education to devote their time and efforts to, it has been severely neglected. In February of 2010, 300 teachers of the Des Moines Public School system were notified that they would no longer be needed to teach their subjects in the following school year. The positions that were cut due to the downsizing of the schools faculty were mostly those that taught art, music, and physical education. The reasoning behind this drastic measure taken by the Des Moines Public School system, says Twyla Woods, Chief of Staff of Student Affairs at Des Moines Public Schools, is to preserve core classes. This argument is entirely logical; however, it fails to acknowledge the necessity of the arts in the lives of America’s younger generation (KCCI). Doehm 2
Those behind the educational budgeting have greatly underestimated the wealth of skills that teaching our children to learn such musical skills as simple as playing the piano can afford them. In an issue brief given by The Economic & Technology Policy Studies department of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices titled “The Impact of Arts Education on Workforce Preparation”, they state various ways that the incorporation of the arts in education can improve America’s children’s skills. The basic skills they present are; better oral communication, better reading and understanding of the material, and enhanced writing skills. According to this publication, higher-order skills that the arts offer adolescents are; better decision making, creative and innovative thinking, also strategy and problem solving. (http://www.nga.org) In a study conducted by a research team, a group of children who received piano keyboard lessons were compared against a group of children who received computer lessons as well as a control group. The results of the spatial-temporal tests that were administered to these children after training showed a significant improvement in only the group of children who received piano keyboard lessons. The team then deduced that “music training produces long-term modifications in underlying neural circuitry in regions not primarily concerned with music” and that “an improvement of the magnitude reported may enhance the learning of standard curricula, such as mathematics and science, that draw heavily on spatial-temporal reasoning.” This study gave scientific evidence of the real value music carries in the education of children (Rauscher). The skills that the arts bring people as a society are irreplaceable and the benefits Doehm 3
that they give us cannot be obtained by any other form of activity. So by depriving our children of this necessary form of mental stimulation, they are also being deprived of ways for their minds to grow to their full capacity. It hardly seems rational for our government to remove the arts from our children’s curriculum. Our government allots 16% of the national budget towards education while offering 11% to welfare programs. Logically, the education of our younger generation should take precedence over the unorganized, unjust, and inefficient welfare system. However, there is an array of opinions concerning this topic of our national budgeting. (http://www.usgovernmentspending.com) In today’s society the value of the arts has been diminished and dwindled significantly. In civilized history, art, drama, and...
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