Arts in the schools: A look at the benefit of art programs for students
All children are not receiving equal opportunities and exposure to the arts as a part of their formal education.
The unequal distribution of art education for students is detrimental to their personal and academic development. The lack of exposure to the arts results in an inability for the students to express themselves on several levels.
As of the 1999-2000 school year, 94 percent of elementary schools offered music instruction, and even less, only 87 percent, offered visual arts. A mere 20 percent offered dance, and 19 percent offered drama and theater (US Department of Education). Ninety-four percent may seem like a lot, but that means that 6 percent of elementary schools do not offer music. Six percent is not that small of a number, but when you consider how many elementary schools there are in the United States it begins to grow.
[...] A quote, by Harry Thomas, Director of the Seattle Housing Authority, is an insightful look into the power of the arts for at risk youth; ?When children express themselves through dance, or the power of their voices, they may no longer need a broken window, a can of spray paint or a gun to make their points.? Additionally, individuals who attend artistic classes or events are twice as likely to volunteer and does charity work. They are also twice as likely to participate in physically activities, such as sports and exercise, or spend time outdoors. [...]
[...] He then gave a narrative explanation of the drawing he had created Some students know the material; they just need a different way to express their knowledge.? The arts teach children several valuable lessons that they can use throughout their lives. For example, the arts teach students how to make good judgments. The curricula that children are taught from usually are centered on right and wrong answers and set rules (Eisner). This is high risk for students, who may fear making a mistake or being wrong. [...]
[...] I wanted the point of view of a student to see how the arts have affected her life. Perkins currently has painting hanging in a local music venue and was the vice president of the Poetry Slam Club in her high school. In elementary school she was in two plays put on by the school's drama club and wrote and preformed a song for the school's talent show. She has also taken dance, figure skating, acting, and singing classes over the years. [...]