So this is a question all Art educators face; how big of a part does the arts play in our students lives? There have been some times where the arts were valued by schools, and encouraged. However, especially in our country, math and sciences have been put first due to changing technology and our desire to always be number one. However, art is an important part of a child’s life, teaching them to be creative and to think their way around problems.
In the first article I read, “Does Experience in the Arts Boost Academic Achievement?” the author talks about how much pressure we put on art teachers to contribute to more than the art classes, yet we never ask the other classes to contribute to the education we provide. My high school art teacher taught every art class at the high school level, which was about 11 different classes, with 11 different curriculums. She once taught three different courses at the same time! And in between all of that, she had to help other teachers with any creative help they needed. Thank god she didn’t have to help out with the yearbook or musicals, or I think she would have gone crazy. One thing that bothers me is that my school district just spent half a million dollars to pay for ipads for every student, but they can’t hire another art teacher so that this hard working woman can go home and spend time with her children. Schools need to realize just how much pressure they put on their art teachers.
In the second article I read, “Valuing the Arts on their Own Terms?” she talked about the ways that value is measured. They are measured by “a. the individual as a person, B. the individual as a contributing member of society, and C. the human community.” (Pg. 1) I just love how true this is! The problem is, measuring point B and point C is hard to do in a classroom. We can’t tell how our education methods are going to affect the student’s impact on society, or the community. Art takes patience. I’m sure the men who taught Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo had no idea that their students would go on to shape a whole period of art expression, and change how art has been looked at forever.
Though an optional article, I read the article by the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities, since I could not access the first article. I very much enjoyed the article. It talked about arts integration and how important it is to school districts. I believe this to be entirely true. The part that surprised me was that lower-income schools do not use arts integration, yet here in Menomonie we have a wonderful program that reaches out to the local children to do just that. My school district of about 400 students per grade never had the arts integration that Menomonie currently has. It’s very important that America embraces arts integration, since it means hiring teachers who have the passion to teach students about art and the many wonderful things about art. Arts integration will lead to better schools, better teachers, and better students.
Overall, I feel that art is a huge part of a schools overall success. We need to respect the time and effort put into the programs by the art teachers, and not to take them for granted. We also need to use art as a teaching tool in classes, and not just as a distraction or a time-filler. We have more on our shoulders, in work and in value, than we think. These children count on us more than we know. Hopefully we will all se that this semester.