Fine Arts Education Issues
According to the National Art Education Association’s goals for schools, “all elementary schools shall require students to complete a sequential program of art instruction that integrates the study of art production, aesthetics, art criticism, and art history,” (Clark, 1987). Elementary schools are having difficulty because they are cutting back on the fine arts programming and many non-specialist classroom teachers are expected to integrate the fine arts into their daily curriculum. Most of these teachers feel inadequate and uncomfortable when teaching these subjects. The children are receiving inadequate lessons in art education. All elementary schools should expand their curriculum to include the fine arts as subjects, and licensed specialists should teach these subjects.
More or less, it isn’t the fact that there is a lack of fine arts education; there is a lack of specialists teaching fine arts in elementary schools. One reason for the lack of art specialists in the elementary schools is the fact that the fine arts aren’t considered core curriculum. The fine arts are thought of as expendable and not as important as mathematics, sciences, language, and literacy, when in fact Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences explains that there are several different ways of learning. “Gardner has identified eight "accepted" modes of learning: Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Linguistic, Mathematical, Musical, Naturalist, and Spatial. Traditional education emphasizes Linguistic and Mathematical Intelligences,” (Martin, 2000). Certain intelligences are enhanced through participation in the fine arts. This is why fine arts are actually equally as important as other core curriculum.
Michael Blakeslee of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) commented that “The standards processes affirmed that the arts are an essential part of the core curriculum, but when push comes to shove, questions come up about how much time we’re going to spend on arts education. Will teachers have the money…more often than not, the answer is no,” (Reardon, 1995). When budget cuts are underway in school systems, the allotted amount of money for fine arts education is the first to be reduced. Fine arts education should be considered a core subject in elementary schools. All budgeting should be done so that all core areas receive an equal amount of money.
Because the fine arts are given a lower status than the traditional core subjects, schools fail to hire licensed arts specialists. Schools then burden their classroom teachers by implementing poor quality arts programs into their daily routines to fulfill certain art expectations. This not only discourages and takes time away from classroom teachers, but also misrepresents the fine arts. Even when a fine arts specialist is hired, they often are pushed into trying to teach other areas of art than what they were hired for. In some cases, the requirements...