Yours HumanlyMay 2, 2019
The Importance of Art Education
In the world of education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) has become a major focus. STEM subjects are enormously important in teaching innovation and in placing students on a successful career path. However, in many cases, the focus on STEM has lead to the neglect of other subjects that are of equal importance: the arts.
According to a StateImpact Oklahoma report, in times of financial struggle, school administrations will oftentimes end up cutting art programs first; this is due to the fact that the arts are not tested subjects. Unfortunately, as an article published by EdSource states, “the decline of arts education has been felt most severely in low-performing, low-income schools as administrators moved resources out of the arts and into remedial math and English.” The article goes on to explain that this is done “in an effort to avoid being placed into program improvement status, one potential penalty for schools that didn’t hit achievement benchmarks on standardized tests.” Although preparing students to perform well on tests is an important role of schools, it is not the main role. The main role that both schools and teachers have is to offer their students the knowledge they need to reach their full potential.
Librarian Brenda Roberts recognizes that not every student is meant to succeed on the same path: “I feel like art is extremely important,” she said. “Over the years of teaching, I’ve noticed it’s the students that do not excel in academic classes that really do well in art. It lets them shine.” Students who have a passion for STEM fields will undoubtedly grow up to be extremely valuable members of our society. And, undoubtedly, so will students who have a passion for art, music, dance, or theater. At Yours Humanly, we believe that our society is strengthened by diversity. By embracing our different backgrounds, perspectives, and skills, our entire community benefits. So, whether a student excels at math or music, we are here to support whatever subject “lets them shine.”
As it turns out, art programs serve to benefit more than just those who are artistically inclined. In fact, an article published by Eric Oddleifson, President of The Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum, states that “research into the records of students in several schools indicates that a curriculum that devotes 25% or more of the school day to the arts produces youngsters with academically superior abilities.” Artist and educator Ruth Catchen agrees that the arts play an important role in the education of all students. In an article published by EdWeek, Catchen explains that “the arts are a great learning tool and can serve as an on-ramp to STEM for underrepresented students.” This is possible because “engaging students’ strengths using art activities increases motivation and the probability of STEM success.” To succeed in art courses, students must exercise their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Not surprisingly, these are the same skills that help students succeed in STEM subjects.
The arts play a crucial role in what makes us human. Equations can easily be executed by machines, but it is the combination of scientific knowledge and creativity that make innovation possible. By supporting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs that include the arts as core subjects along with traditional STEM courses, we at Yours Humanly are supporting a society that values the skills and talents of a diverse group of future leaders.