Stop Learning about Arts
Why does keeping the Arts in classrooms seem like an insurmountable problem? The paradox is clear...
1. Money does NOT equal a great classroom experience and presumed success for students.
2. Money (and Time) is the primary reason the Arts get cut... since Time=Money.
So, why is there a problem and what can we do? Some of our answers need to address the logistical reasons for eliminating the Arts from classrooms, but must also confront the cultural reasons.
First, we can begin with transformational change and move towards a system of allowing that skill-set or activity in which each student excels be used to drive the learning required and expected for basic competencies in math, reading, and science. Whether sports, drawing, or acting out...let's fully integrate the learning experience into normal childhood activities. I've witnessed magical things when art, dance, and theatre are the vehicles for learning math and science. So why not sports and physical activity?
Second, why are students only "learning" nine months out of a year, only to spend much too long catching back up at the beginning of the following year? It's time for recreating the classroom and break schedule for our students. Ample extended breaks for family outings rather than 3 months in the summer only will make learning a continuous activity.
Finally, the largest problem is our own cultural approach to the value the Arts bring to our society. We treat the Arts as the luxury add-on...the thing to do AFTER the work is done if you have extra time and money, rather than something integral to our abilities to create, innovate, and problem-solve.
The Arts ARE the core of creativity and are what drive innovation in all industries. Those scientific solutions first come from a place of imagination and the way to stoke imagination is to begin with Arts related instruction at an early age. THAT is how we will grow innovation in this country for years to come.
We dismiss the Arts in ways we do not even see and it begins by telling little Sophia or Jason that they "can take band class or dance class as long as they get their REAL work done first"... We are indoctrinating them to see the Arts as nothing much from a young age and then we wonder why attendance continues to fall, musical instrument companies fail, and arts-related nonprofits continue to struggle.