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Over the last decade, arts education in public schools has gained progressively less budget each year. The support for studying music, literature, and other forms of art have gotten so low that it became very difficult to fund such programs, despite the fact that some states require them to be present by law. However, arts education is extremely important for a variety of reasons.
One of the most simple, and yet important reasons for supporting arts education in public schools is the fact that arts programs are often required by state law to be present in the curriculum. An article on this topic from Los Angeles Times describes a recent analysis in the following quote “eight out of every 10 elementary schools in the Los Angeles United School District don’t have the programs needed to meet state requirements” (Torres). This means that the majority of the schools in California are unable to follow the law, and if it had harsher penalties, they would be punished for being underfunded (Torres). The existence of the law suggests that arts education is essential for every school, but the lack of compliance shows that they are not receiving enough attention.
From a more pragmatic perspective, arts education has a great benefit to the economy of the country. An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education states that: “in 2011, arts education added 7.6-billion to the nation’s GDP” (Iyengar and Hudson). The positive impact that arts programs have on the American economy is often overlooked, but their presence is clear. The statistics provided by the article only cover a small group of arts programs, and the numbers would only grow if it included all forms of arts education in the country. Arts education often comes under criticism that it does not have a clear financial benefit in comparison to the funds it requires to maintain. Schools often treat these programs as optional, because they cannot afford to teach all of the students. By considering the real monetary benefit to the country that the arts education provides, senators should see why it needs to be supported.
While mathematics and physical education are very important for children, they may support the growth of only a portion of the class. Students need to be exposed to theatre, dance, literature, and other forms of art to find their way in life. For many, it would be impossible to sign up for expensive private arts education programs, especially in areas that rely on subsidized public schools to provide education to their children. Over the years, many great artists, actors, and writers began their path by performing in school plays or reading books in literature class. To prevent students from having the same opportunity seems wrong.
Arts education is often overlooked by the federal budget. Despite the law of some states dictating that every public school should provide arts programs, the majority are incapable of funding them. This comes at odds with how much arts education benefits the country.
Iyengar, Sunil, and Ayanna Hudson. “Who Knew? Arts Education Fuels the Economy.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2014, Web.
Torres, Zahira. “Arts Education in All Schools Needs to Be a Priority and Better Funded, Advocates Say.” Los Angeles Times. 2015, Web.