by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life. – Henry Miller
Schools have been under increased pressure to raise student proficiency rates in “core” subjects of reading and math since the No Child Left Behind legislation became law in 2002. Based on the idea that high standards and measurable goals in education can improve individual outcomes, schools now have to test their students annually in these subjects.
Several studies compiled data showing 71 percent of schools have reduced instruction time in the arts, history, language and music, and many art educators saw budgets for their programs decline and money redirected toward “core” classes and test prep.
This is troubling for many reasons. “Art education should be seen as something that contributes to the economy and makes for a more thoughtful society,” said Dr. Robert E. Sabol, president of the National Art Education Association. “It is often the designs of artists that influence consumer and civic decisions that range from what car or home to buy to how to interpret messages from political candidates and others who are trying to shape public opinion.”
What our art educators have done in the wake of No Child Left Behind is step in and fill the void. We are lucky to have institutions like Arts Central, Cascade School of Music, BEAT and the many other individuals and organizations who specifically work with school-age children to impart a more holistic view of learning and creativity, and they need our continued support. See the article on Arts Central to learn more about their needs and how you can contribute to arts education in our community.