I just read last night that my high school alma mater, Renaissance High School, in Detroit is probably going to cut many programs including art, dance and music. This seems to be happening more and more in schools around our country and it makes me feel sad and worried for my children. When I attended Renaissance High, not only was the college prep curriculum top notch but the art, dance and music departments were stellar as well. I loved the dance program with Mrs. Andrea Johnson and continued dancing throughout college. I have always said college was easy for me because Renaissance High School prepared me in the best possible ways.
So often now we hear only about STEM programs in schools. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. While these are important programs, I believe the arts are just as important. They complement each other in so many ways and make us all more thoughtful, open-minded, and overall better human beings.
I found this article online at Arteducators.org. which lists “10 Lessons the Arts Teach”. I know funding is limited, especially in Detroit, but I think the powers that be in education and government are doing a great disservice to our students (and future leaders) by cutting such important programs.
10 Lessons the Arts Teach
1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.
(Source: http://www.arteducators.org/advocacy )