The consequences of cutting

Holiday television delights us with its offerings of special programs of great music and dance, not to mention the Kennedy Center Honors, an event that pays tribute to artists in multiple fields who have devoted their lives to enriching ours. But a cloud threatens to darken this picture, as once again, our elected politicians, at the federal, state and local levels, continue to cut funding for education in the arts and humanities in our nation’s schools.

America already is suffering the consequences of this short-sighted trend. According to the Huffington Post, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the nation’s educational systems leave significant room for improvement in the visual arts and music. The NCES found students’ lack of access to arts education significantly contributed to their underwhelming scores. Students who took art classes or music lessons inside and/or outside of school, visited museums, or attended theater performances generally scored better on the 2016 test administered by the National Assessment of American Progress, which evaluates comprehension based on a series of questions and original work.

President Trump’s proposed budget includes cutting 19 publicly funded bodies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Such cuts could weaken any edge American students have held internationally.

This is not only about artistic ability. Multiple respected studies consistently show that arts education leads to improved academic performances in all disciplines and higher rates of graduation and enrollment in higher education. I haven’t been able to find any down side. We all benefit.

Congress has not yet agreed to a budget for 2018. Let your representative know how you feel about this.



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