Art Education Within Common Core Standards

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The lack of funding for Fine Arts Education in public school systems has been decreasing for many years and is continuing to decrease in 2019. Fine Arts Education is made up of the following programs dance, media arts, instrumental music, vocal music, theatre/film, and visual arts. These programs are funded by the federal, state, and local governments. Art programs help showcase students’ creativity in the specific area of their choice. Many public schools have incorporated the arts as a part of their curriculum, but are having a hard time keeping the programs due to budget cuts. Although funding is lacking in the arts; the public school system could divide budget cuts evenly, find other sources of funding, or simply incorporate the arts in many other ways since the arts have educational benefits.

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Valeriya Melta from Law Street states that during the recession, budgets cuts were homogenous in schools across the United States due to The No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act became law in 2002 and was endorsed by President George W. Bush. The act was then reconstructed to give all children an opportunity to receive a high-quality education despite religious beliefs, race, social status, and ethnicity. The No Child Left Behind Act and the Common Core State Standards prioritized the core subjects’ math and English Language Arts causing many school districts to put more funds toward the subjects that depend upon standardized testing so their overall student scores would increase. With priority and funding being set on the core subjects, the funding for many art programs drastically decreased, causing art programs to be partially or completely terminated from many school districts. Schools in low-income communities are considered low-performing encounter tremendous stress shows, that Art programs in schools with majority low-income students are hardly ever reestablished.

During the era of strict state budget cuts Oklahoma State Department of Education data advised that Oklahoma schools terminated 1,110 fine arts classes in 2014 through 2018 which influenced the removal visual arts, theater, music and band classes. According to state records in 2018, 30 percent of public school students in Oklahoma attended schools with that didn’t offer fine arts classes. Emily Wendler, a journalist from State Impact Oklahoma says “arts programs are generally the first classes removed from schools during financial hardships due to the arts not being a tested subject.” Rebecca Fine, an education policy analyst for the Oklahoma Policy Institute, “When we look at fine arts programs across the state, we find that rural and low-income schools are being troubled the most due to the budget cuts.”. Fine goes on to say “the arts cuts worsen predate inequalities that divide student from privileged and low income schools and expands the division between rural and urban schools.

Elizabeth Maughan, the fine arts director for the State Department of Education, believes the schools trouble of finding certified arts teachers is the reason the programs aren’t kept and not just the decrease in the fine arts budget. Rhonda Taylor, the director of visual and performing arts for OKCPS, said “it makes sense that budget cuts would hurt Oklahoma City’s arts programs more than other schools.” Taylor goes on to say “In other districts, they’re charging student fees for programs, and you will especially see this band because it’s routine for schools to charge students hundreds of dollars a year to help pay for items like art supplies and instruments to the fine arts programs. Siandhara Bonnet, Editor-In-Chief of The Roar, states that half of the choices to gain a P.E. credit in the state of Texas are listed under fine arts, but the budgets for sports and fine arts programs are nowhere near equivalent. Bonnet goes on to state that the fine arts have been confirmed to strengthen math, reading, critical thinking, and verbal skills, improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. The arts have a restricted budget, whereas the football budget is more extensive. Bonnet says “other than physical exercise and teamwork, sports only increase your chances of getting a minor or serious injury.” The fine arts needs their budget just as much as the sports need theirs, the fine arts shouldn’t get cut before the sports being the sports spend it unnecessarily.

There are reasons why schools offer arts education in the to begin with so they should not suddenly be taken away. She believes if the schools can cut one of the arts programs, then they should cut one of the sports teams as well. There are so many sport clubs outside of school grounds where children and teens can join compared to artistic development areas, so why not keep the arts program and cut one or two of the less-membered teams? It’s for budget sake after all? Brian Kisida and Daniel H. Bowen found that a considerable increase in arts educational experiences has an exceptional outcome on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes.

Art education is highly important for all children, despite their ages. When it comes to finances for art programs, many schools around the Unite States are having to rely solely on private funding or a merger of private and public funds. Private donors, non-profit organizations, and fundraisers are just a few ways many local schools are funding their arts programs.

Melta says in her article that “its obvious arts classes are the first to be cut from the budget, the last to be restored and often unavailable for low-income students.” She goes on the state the benefits of artistics education are the improvement of students overall achievement in core academic subjects. Multiple studies have also confirmed the correlation between art engagement and students’ achievements. Schools with long-standing art programs also have higher graduation rates. Art can inspire students to show their creativity and self-expression in many different art forms. Art can improve child’s problem-solving skills, judgement, and shows multiple perspectives, encourages inventiveness, and helps encourage forward thinkers.

Arts and music at a young age enhances child development of motor skills, language skills, teaches children, their colors, shapes, descriptive words, and improves visual-spatial skills, hand eye coordination, and helps children to connect both hemispheres of the brain, which in turn contributes to lasting communication and listening skills. Art also provides children with a foundation for understanding racial diversity. Art programs can keep at-risk children off the streets and help them realize their full potential as it provides a safe harbor for those students that may not have a support system in their homes. Students with a history of art involvement have higher college enrollment rates and are three times more likely to earn Bachelor’s degrees than other students.

According to Seneca Academy and their experience with arts integration, it is very important because the arts increase creative problem-solving skills. The presentation of tough theories shown visually can make the information easier for students to comprehend. Art enhances children motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making, risk-taking, and inventiveness. Visual arts teach students about colors, layout, perspective, and balance. Integrating art with other subjects can help influence students that may not be intrigued by the classwork. Arts experiences can enhance critical thinking skills, and teaching students to be more accurate in how they examine the world. Art education connects students with their culture as well as by the diversity of the world. According to a study of Missouri public schools in 2010, they found that higher arts education led to less disciplinary offenses and greater attendance, graduation rates, and test scores. “There are strong reasons to suspect that engagement in arts education can improve school climate, empower students with a sense of purpose, and provide collective respect for their teachers and peers.”

The recent development of National Core Arts Standards attempts to integrate art education with Common Core Standards in hopes of bringing the arts back into classrooms. These findings give reliable evidence that educational art experiences can yield important positive outcomes of academic and social development. School districts and board members should start to gather and evaluate student results beyond test scores, and start to observe the benefits of the arts in the world of education. They can start this evolution, expanding the budget in low-income school setting.

Works Cited

  • “Arts Integration In School: 10 Reasons Why It’s Important.” Seneca Academy, https://www.senecaacademy.org/10-reasons-why-integrating-art-is-important-in-school/.
  • Fine, Rebecca. “Fine Arts Education Matters: How Shrinking Budgets Deepen Inequalities.” Oklahoma Policy Institute, 2 May 2019, https://okpolicy.org/fine-arts-education-matters-how-shrinking-budgets-deepen-inequalities/.
  • Metla, Valeriya. “School Art Programs: Should They Be Saved?” Law Street, 25 July 2016, https://www.lawstreetmedia.com/issues/education/cutting-art-programs-schools-solution-part-problem/.
  • Turbide, Anne-Frédérique. “Why Art Programs Are Beneficial to Students.” Medium, The Synapse, 15 May 2015, https://medium.com/synapse/why-art-programs-are-beneficial-to-students-.
  • Kisida, Brian, and Daniel H. Bowen. “New Evidence of the Benefits of Arts Education.” Brookings, Brookings, 12 Feb. 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2019/02/12/new-evidence-of-the-benefits-of-arts-education/.
  • Wendler, Emily. “Decline in School Arts Programs Follows Funding Drop, but Cuts Aren’t Equally Felt | State Impact Oklahoma.” State Impact Oklahoma, NPR, 17 Jan. 2019, https://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/2019/01/17/decline-in-school-arts-programs-follows-funding-drop-but-cuts-arent-equally-felt/.
  • “Siandhara Bonnet.” The Roar, 13 Feb. 2013, https://lhsroar.com/staff_profile/siandhara-bonnet-editor-in-chief/.
07 July 2022

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