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Fine Arts Education In The United States

1807 words - 7 pages

In the United States education reform has been a huge topic of debate. The implementation of no child left behind, emphasis on standardized testing, and debates on educational budgets show the ever-growing interest and importance of education in the United States. Among the debates over education in the United States are the subjects of fine arts, and the importance they play in public schools. When education budget cuts are made the first thing to go to the chopping block are fine art subjects such as music, art, and theater. As a student of the fine arts I have direct exposure to all of the problems regarding the field. I have experienced the positive effects of the fine arts in all of aspects of my life, and it makes me wonder how many other students have experienced these same positive effects and whether or not it is even important for these subjects to be taught in schools. I am genuinely very interested in the question; should the fine arts be cut entirely from public school education in the United States?
I decided that in order to answer this question I first needed to figure out why or why not the arts are important. I started by reading a journal article, “Art a Waste of Time?” from The Harvard Educational Review written by Theodore P. White who works for the United States Department of the Interior. He begins the article by talking about his job, describing it as mundane, but the real focus is on a college design class that he decided to take in order to “ ramp up [his] job skills and have some fun” (White 93). I was surprised to find that so many of the things he learned in his class had a very large impact on his work and could not be taught in a core subject. He argues that by taking this art class he learned to analyze his environment and “see the world with the eye of a critic” (White 94). After reading this article I started to think about the arguments he implemented in arguing for the arts. He makes a lot of good arguments for how the art class he took had a positive impact on his everyday and work life, but much of the article is opinion based and centered on one mans personal experience. I wanted more information on what makes the arts important backed reliable by scientific research.
Needing more information on why the arts are important, I did research and came across an article on the PBS website entitled “The Benefits of Music Education” written by Laura Lewis Brown. The article outlines benefits of music education from language development to increased IQ to improved test scores. “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language” (Brown). I was shocked to learn that music has something to do with language, such a large part of day-to-day life. Along with this I learned that a 2004 study published in Psychological Science and conducted by Glenn Schulenburg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga...

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