Arts programs deserve more attention, not budget cuts

In Opinion
There is a two panel illustration. The first panel shows a kid playing the violin and the second panel shows a kid getting an A+ on an exam.
(Amanda Tran / Daily Titan)

Ongoing budget cuts for art programs are doing significant harm to students; schools at all grade levels need to fund art programs to ensure low-income artistic students are able to express themselves creatively and increase their learning capacities.

Brown University is setting a good example by starting off the 2018-2019 school year with full-tuition scholarship funds for returning and future students in the Master of Fine Arts programs for acting and directing.

The university is making an effort to provide low-income students with the opportunity to join performing arts programs this upcoming year. Other universities and schools need to follow the lead of Brown University as they stress the importance of performing arts.

This action will not only create more opportunities for more students, but it will expand the diversity in the field and encourage innovation and experimentation in art-making, according to Brown University News.

The U.S. takes pride in being the best, but if students are taught to only focus on three primary subjects —– math, reading and writing —– and are drowned in standardized tests, the idea that the nation is diversely educated is nonexistent.

“We just don’t like the idea, frankly, of children not being exposed to the arts. It’s just not what we could call a world-class education,” Dennis Inhulsen, chief learning officer at the National Arts Education Association said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

Not only that, but budget cuts could weaken American students’ competitive edge internationally, which is a worry among the National Arts Education Association.

There’s a lack of enthusiasm to offer these classes and as a result, student performances are beginning to suffer in art subjects.

Students aren’t excelling in musical arts, scoring an average of 147 out of 300 points in the 2016 National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test meant to evaluate music comprehension, according to the Nation’s Report Card, which tests students on their knowledge of multiple subjects including writing, reading, mathematics, and science.

The lack of knowledge in the subject is also causing a reason to believe funding should be redirected and used properly according to Mick Mulvaney, White House budget director.

Students who experienced an arts education performed better in reading and math exams, had better grade point averages, and were less likely to drop out of school, according to Americans for the Arts Action Fund, a national arts advocacy organization.

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, discovered and wrote about “The Mozart Effect,” which showed that college students who listened to 10 minutes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart before taking certain parts of a test had improved scores.

There are many courses taught by arts programs that contribute to a variety of professions such as advertising, publishing, video and multimedia design and architecture so these programs can’t be overlooked.

If people want students to express themselves and excel in school, schools and universities should be aiming for higher funding in arts programs like Brown, and not throw it on the back burner to be forgotten.

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