Letter to Obama
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to you to bring attention to an issue that I think is very important. As you know, many arts programs in schools across the nation have had their funding cut, thus eliminating the programs from the school entirely. I think that this is a big mistake and needs to be fixed immediately. I understand that the economy is bad and that many people think these classes and programs are unnecessary. I also understand that standardized test scores are important, but if you try to force knowledge down the throats of America's youth, eventually they are going to get sick of it. These students deserve the chance to spread their wings and find something that they love to do that they can be recognized for in a school setting. Whether it's only band, chorus or one art class, every school needs to have elective arts classes for the students in middle and high school, and a mandated art or music class in every elementary school. Funding for the arts shouldn't be cut because the arts contribute to the progress of world civilization, it gives students an escape from the mundane classroom and it allows them to grow socially and culturally.
Throughout the world, arts have been very important to key us into what life was like in the past. The arts have been a solid foundation in almost every society around the world, and to deny the children of the United States a chance to delve themselves in one of the things that has helped the world to progress is absurd. Art and music are personal things, they allow people to express and explore what it means to be human. The arts at an educational level encourage students to find themselves and to engage in "conversation" with all other artists, both living and dead (Walke). Art is a vital way of expression that some children and people need because they aren't socially advanced and don't have very good social skills. While students shouldn't be exposed to obscenities in art, there should still be government funding, along with private donations so that students young and old can be exposed and well versed in cultures from America and around the world (Driscoll).
Art and music classes are important because it gets children out of their classrooms and in a new environment. Some children don't do very well in school because the teachers and administration push book learning on them, and don't let them grow creatively. If a student isn't good at drawing or sculpting, they may thrive and succeed in a music or band program. If a school doesn't have any of these programs offered, that student may grow to hate learning and not care about their education, which is what the government doesn't want. If students are bored with their everyday classrooms, they aren't going to care about school and that will make the standardized test scores lower, but the reasoning behind cutting these art and music classes is that they are "distracting" and lower the scores anyway (Walke).
Art and music classes allow students to grow culturally and socially, which is something that young children need (Ford). In a country that is becoming more and more dependent on the internet, kids are starting to turn only to the internet for friends. This may be because children have insecurities or aren't very self confident that they can make friends. They also may be afraid that they will make friends with the wrong person and end up being bullied. By having arts and music classes, kids can see that they have common interests with other people their age. Art and music classes allow children to express themselves in a way that they can easily make friends. These classes allow children to be vulnerable to their feelings, allowing them to make true friends. Friends and acquaintances in real life are important because human interaction is essential to grow and be cultured (Walke). The internet doesn't allow children to have real interaction with kids, or different cultures for that matter. You can read about different cultures all you want, but you don't know what they are really like until you experience them. Art and music give kids a chance to experience cultures from the confines of a classroom, which gives them the drive and motive to experience it fully.
If there are no art and music classes, the only time students are exposed to other cultures is in History or English, and most students detest those two classes. Besides how boring they can be, the school, the administration, and the government put too much emphasis and are too strict about these two classes so any chance of them being fun is taken away. The government needs to fund arts and music programs because it gets students involved and wanting to learn. When a student feels like they are having fun and are responsible for something they want to do and love to do, they are going to care more about all of the other aspects of their education.
If these main points aren't good enough to convince you to fund arts and music programs, then maybe these facts will change your mind. "Students that participate in at least three hours of art or music programs on three different days a week for one year are:
- 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
- 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
- 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
- 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
- 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem"
In addition, a 2002 study entitled, "Learning In and Through the Arts: The Question of Transfer," students who identify with a high level of both arts instruction and participation, show higher levels of academic confidence than do student who identify with low levels of arts instruction and participation" says Adam Ford and Maureen McMahon in an article titled "Point: The Arts: Vital Part of Education." Art and music programs are essential for school age students, and the programs aren't possible without government funding. Please, I beg of you, rethink the decision to cut the funding, and allow children the chance to find themselves in something that could turn into a lifelong passion. Students deserve the chance to have arts and music classes because they contribute to the progress of world civilization, it gives students an escape from the mundane classroom and it allows them to grow socially and culturally.
- Driscoll, Sally. "Arts Funding: An Overview." Points of View Reference Center. University Library Systems (EBSCOHost), 2007. Web. 23 Oct. 2009. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pwh&AN=23173035&site=pov-live>.
- Ford, Adam, and Maureen McMahon. "Point: The Arts: Vital Part of Education." Points of View Reference Center. University Library Systems (EBSCOHost), 2007. Web. 23 Oct. 2009. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pwh&AN=23575236&site=pov-live>.
- Walke, Jacob. "Counterpoint: As the Lifeblood of Humanity and Society, the Arts should receive Government Support." Points of View Reference Center. University Library Systems (EBSCOHost), 2007. Web. 23 Oct. 2009. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pwh&AN=26608559&site=pov-live>.