Northwest NEWS

May 21, 2001

Editorial

Arts are essential to students' success in school

All across the nation today, the art programs in schools are being cut because people are ignorant of how important art actually is to a child's education.
   Many consider the art program just an extra curricular activity, while in fact art is just as important as any other class, like math or science. Unlike what many may think, art takes in a huge part of helping a child develop emotionally and intellectually. In recent studies over the years it is a proven fact that art education improves students' grades and behavior.
   The benefits that come from the art program affect so many people like the community, the students, and those "at-risk" in such a positive way that it usually changes their lives for the better.
   The arts are essential for the students' success in school and life. The art program is really an all around positive class for students ages K-12.
   Not only is art fun for the kids, but also it helps the students in learning. Arts require self-discipline, creativity, and confidence, all of which will help the students in school, life and their future careers.
   The reason this program is so valuable is because art removes all boundaries and allows the student to explore aspects of life around them in new ways. Also by connecting the arts with other subjects like math, science, writing, etc. art helps the students learn and comprehend those values they learn in other classes as well.
   In Shady Brook Elementary their Principal Russ Chapman added the art program to the school's core curriculum, and saw drastic improvements in the students' test grades. The math scores were up 61%, the writing scores improved 14% and all the 6th graders demonstrated mastery in reading. What the statistics didn't show is the emotional development of the students.
   Over the years there have been many studies that have shown that students behave better with the art program. The benefits are numerous among the kids. Art allows the children to work with each other in groups and gain interpersonal skills. They learn to appreciate diversity in people and their opinions. Together the students learn from one another, and everyone learns to communicate their thoughts articulately, while at the same time the program is influencing the kids to take leadership roles and start to take more risks. Art education is expanding the emotional development. They start to feel more confident in themselves and their opinions. The benefits keep on going and going; the only problem is that art programs have major funding problems.
   Art programs all across the country are being cut today because people don't have the money necessary to keep them running, and the reason why they are not getting the financial help they need from the people is because people remain ignorant of how important this program is for the schools and the community.
   If people were to help the schools and donate money to their nearest school district for the art programs, the schools wouldn't have to cut out these programs. To help, contact your school district and ask how you can help the art program.
   Melanie Anderson