Tahlequah Daily Press

Columns

May 22, 2012

Don’t take art education out of our schools

TAHLEQUAH —  

It is often the messiest room in the school. It is a room filled with bright colors and, sometimes, strange smells. It is a room where young minds are encouraged to imagine, dream and create. It is the art room, and it’s under attack.
Since the 1970s, the art programs in schools across the country have been the first cut when there is a budget crisis. With the emphasis today on math and science, art programs are seen as needless time filler, dedicated to making pretty pictures. This is usually because school boards and administrators are unaware of the value of art education. Often, parents are also unaware of the benefits and simply trust the school district knows what it is doing.
Most school curricula focuses on rules and a single correct answer. Art helps a child learn there can be more than one correct answer and helps them develop the good judgment necessary to find a workable solution in situations in which there are no set true-or-false answers. The arts encourage children to develop craftsmanship and goal-setting skills.
Most importantly, art gives children a creative outlet that will allow them to develop and express visually their feelings and opinions. Students in the arts also learn to respect alternative viewpoints and cultures, critical skills in today’s world. These benefits are the most frequently cited when discussing the value of art education. There are, however, additional benefits that no parents or school board can afford to ignore.
These additional benefits are academic in nature. Art education strengthens problem-solving, critical thinking, self-confidence and self-discipline, in a manner that most other classes simply cannot. These skills translate well into other classes and future employment. 
A 2011 report of college-bound seniors produced by The College Board shows those students who study art in high school score higher on the SAT in critical reading, mathematics and writing. 

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Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
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