The Importance Of the Arts In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind act (NCSC). This is basically a mandate to schools to put “an emphasis on doing What works based on scientific research; expanded parental options: and expanded local control and flexibility” (Auras 89). Under NCSC, schools are required to demonstrate adequate yearly progress toward academic proficiency goals established by each state, with an emphasis on math, reading, and science.
Because of this act that is supposed to help schools increase their test scores, the school districts have cut funding for arts programs and added funding to programs such as math, reading, and science. However, administrative decisions that were originally made to improve test scores have been detrimental to teachers and students alike and have threatened arts education. The cutting of arts and music programs to increase time spent on other core test subject areas has proved to do more harm than good.
Arts educations have shown increases in memory, auditory and visual memory, and even increases in ‘Q. Arts teachers have also lost many jobs because most of their programs have been cut or they owe have only a part time job. Other teachers who teach the math, science, and English courses have had to change their coursework in order to accommodate the changes due to the NCSC Act (Spoon). Children start education from the very moment they are brought into the world, and we continue to learn until the day we die.
We also recognize that formal education, where children can learn basic concepts of math, language, and science, is very important. This is why we study the arts as well. Studying these subjects together allows us to better understand the Others. However, many Officials seem to believe that standardized test scores re what really matters, so they cut the arts programs in schools to give children more education in test subject areas. What they fail to realize is that arts education is vital to an effective and high quality education because such opportunities use a different part of the brain.
This is why the arts education correlates with higher test scores, IQ, and even memory in children. The arts are essential to the human race, which is why music and other arts programs should not be cut from schools and communities, In order to better understand the issues at play here, it is crucial to know what he NCSC is and how it has changed education. *The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was the reauthorizing of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (SEES) Of 1965″ ( 136).
SEES, Which had been revised every five years, focused primarily on providing teetered education tuning tort economically disadvantaged students. In turn, SEES was reauthorized and revised in 1994 as the “Improving Americas Schools Act,” which was what eventually became No Child Left Behind. Its name comes from the preamble which explains that it, “closes the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left Enid” (Rue-awe 92). Although this idea looked very suitable and factual on paper, it did not look so great when thinking of the arts programs.
Because they weren’t part Of the core curriculum, they weren’t funded Very well Which made it hard for schools to offer them to their students. Instead, schools put all of their focus into achieving higher test scores. The NCSC caused a nationwide push to produce higher test scores in the areas Of math, science, and English Which caused many schools to cut arts programs and instead focus on test subject areas. This is true in Louisiana, where children ho had been involved in arts programs have been taken out orthodox courses and put into extra math, science, and English courses.
Many students in the Limited States have little or no access to arts education as a result of policies intended to improve the English language arts and mathematics test scores. Students who come from low-income families, or racial or ethnic minorities, who have limited English proficiency, or attend schools identified as not meeting annual yearly progress under No Child Let Behind are more likely than other students to report a decrease in instructional time for arts education. This act also effected the teachers’ courses and curriculums as well. Spoon) Teachers who teach the math, science, and English courses have had to change their coursework in order to accommodate the changes due to the NCSC Act, and so have the arts education teachers. Author Kidney Spoon pointed out that, The investigation on the curriculum and instructional time for arts education revealed that music and visual art education for kindergarten to fifth grade remained generally the same since 2001 At the middle school level, the music curriculum experienced a cut.
In grades six to eight, daily instructional mime for math, language arts, science, and social studies amounted to fifty-five minutes whereas music and art have only forty-two minutes (Spoon 5). In order to achieve the math, reading, and language arts scores needed to get government funding administrations chose to cut time from other subjects, such as science and social studies to spend more time on the subjects that most students were struggling with. These teachers had to make longer lesson plans and adjust to the longer class times.
This also drastically modified the music and art curriculum not allowing a significant number of students the opportunity to e in general music or art classes because of their more important core classes. Cindy Spoon investigates the condition of a public school’s arts education program under the NCSC Act and obtains teachers’ perspectives on their experiences under the federal policy, This research took place in the Ribbon Valley School District, which is located in a rural area to Ohio and earmarked for Title funding.
This and other problems the teachers at Ribbon Valley identified have a potentially marginalia effect on the arts as a whole as well as those students who value their schooling experiences in the arts. For instance, if the circumstances at Ribbon Valley are representative of other school districts across the nation, they could lead to a shortage visual artists, musicians, visual art educators, and music teachers in public education. As exposure to music or other art forms declines, students will not gain an appreciation for the arts disciplines nor will they learn about career opportunities available in the arts (Spoon 7).
Furthermore, cutbacks in arts education in schools affect younger generations of potential audiences and lead to lack of public support for the arts. The lack f students having support and knowledge for the arts puts all Of the art and music productions at risk in the future. With the decline of people participating in supporting the arts it is becoming much more difficult to continue those professions. Not enough children are exposed to the arts in order to develop an understanding Of What they are about.
Spoon used a really good example when talking about cutting the arts in education by comparing it to cutting out an important food group to a child’s diet. “Reducing or eliminating the arts (and other disciplines) from a child’s educational diet is likened to cutting food groups room a child’s nutritional regime before he or she has reached physical maturity. Dietary deficiencies lead to developmental defects and disease in children. Educational deficiencies lead to the mental and intellectual equivalences of these problems” (Spoon 9).
Fifth arts have been proven to increase student’s intelligence and test scores, why would we take away something that helps? We would not willingly limit our children’s diets to only two of the six required food groups and expect them to grow into hearty individuals, so why would we want to focus education on a couple of subjects and sacrifice the social, mental, and cognitive health of our children? (Spoon 3). In order to keep students “diets” healthy education needs to offer all parts of the food group in order for them to grow efficiently.
Even though there is clearly a correlation between education in the arts and improved test scores and other benefits, there are many people who believe that arts education is not necessary _ Budgets are tight all across the board, So officials have to prioritize where the money goes. Math, reading, and science are skills that can be measured directly by test scores. But the value arts, cannot be measured that way. So, many say why bother putting money into something that we cannot see the measurable benefit from?
Louisiana, is trying to see things differently. They are working with nonprofit arts organizations and culture programs to partner with Louisiana public schools to help assist in giving children an education in the arts (American-Beardsley). The nationwide focus on producing higher test scores in English and mathematics has caused Louisiana school districts to exercise this option and reassign students from arts education courses to additional instruction in English and math.
Several studies have found hat students in the lowest socioeconomic conditions who engage in significant arts study outperform students with less arts experience in both language and mathematics (Baker 18). This study was done by Richard A. Baker who is a Fine Arts Program Coordinator for the Louisiana Department to Education. This study examined high-stakes test scores for 37,222 eighth grade students enrolled in music and/or visual arts classes and those students not enrolled in arts courses This study was limited to two groups of 200/-?08 eighth grade students, (Baker).
It included those who received performance-based music and visual arts instruction and those who received no instruction. Each group was tested over the entire year and the results were pulled together to find a number of interesting findings when looking at how music education helps increase test scores in subjects such as math and English language arts. (Baker) The study main objective examined music enrollment as a predictor of success in English and math scores.
The first statistic Baker found was that, “music students overall had a mean English score that was eight points higher than the mean score for “no music” students. High and middle SEES music students scored eight points ore than “no music” students on the English tests, and low SEES music students scored seven points more than their counterparts” (Baker 17). This statistic proves that music does in fact help students learn concepts that continue With them outside of the music environment.
Why would schools be diminishing the effects of music when in fact it is helping improve test scores that are “more important Students need a whole exploratory education, which includes performance arts study. If we are strictly going off of numbers, why is everyone so quick to get rid of art and music education when in fact there could be other options? (Baker). Music education and physical education have long coexisted in schools. Music teachers frequently but unfairly characterize the relationship between these two subject areas as a competition tort enrollment, student interest, and community support.
This competitive situation can be readily seen when schools are forced to choose which programs to eliminate in circumstances like the current economic climate, (Freer ) The value of physical education and music programs diminishes in light of emphasis on required standardized testing. Studies have shown that music and art education have significantly improved test scores in two of the biggest subjects, but it’s these programs that are being cut more often than any physical education program or team sport.
Freer points out that, “music students are more than mere participants in our classes; they are developing, growing, and changing throughout the course of their schooling’ (Freer 33). Music participants learn more than just music in their classes. They learn how to count, how to read music, and use hand eye coordination to develop their learning, and that knowledge carries out to math and language arts classes especially. Not only can being involved With music improve test scores, it can also improve IQ and memory. Another recent study that was conducted through Appalachian State University, looked at six. Year. Old children who took various music lessons over thirty-six weeks of the school year. This found that children who took keyboard instruction and/or God;lye method vocal instruction raised their IQ by about 2. 7 points (Steele 7). Another objective looked at the difference in memory after musical instruction. This report studied children in middle school who had instruction in learning a musical instrument, auditory perception, and music theory training over the course two years. It was able to conclude that children who had musical instruction over two years raised their visual and auditory memory by over a point (Guiding 613).
This is evidence that shows people being involved in some art or music program can in fact raise their visual and auditory perception. These are two skills that are used throughout life time and time again, Arts and music education are very good when developing the right side of children’s brains. ‘The right brain is centrally involved in not only processing social-emotional information, facilitating attachment functions, and regulating bodily and affective states, but also in the control of vital functions supporting survival and enabling the organism to cope actively and passively with stress” (Score 10).
However, if the human race was only to be educated in left-brained activities, which is what’s being developed by standardized testing, we would be useless. There needs to be an outlet for our creative, right brain to express itself. This is Why we study the arts as well. Studying these subjects together allows us to better understand the others. It s also keeping the arts lieu_ Although there is no physically measurable way to see the benefit of arts education, it is clearly needed in the world. In order to have people better understand the world they live in, it is pertinent that they be involved in the arts in some way. Live education in the arts will promote a more well-rounded community. Yes, children need the information they learn in their academic classes. But they also need to be made aware of all of the art that is out there and open their minds to new ideas, instead of constantly filling their heads with equations and facts. Arts funding should be increased in schools across the nation. With benefits that include a correlation been higher test scores, raised IQ, and better visual and auditory memory, don’t see a reason not to increase the funding.
Not only do the arts help improve intelligence, they also serve a purpose to help educate people about the world. If children are exposed to art at an early age, they will be more likely to have a better Longstanding of the world they live in. Fifth children of today start becoming more cultured and knowledgeable of their surroundings, just think of the kind of world that will exist hen those children grow up. The easiest way to get children today interested in their future tomorrows is to involve them and educate them in the arts.