The Arts Have Been Long-Recognized As A Vital Component

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The arts have been long-recognized as a vital component of the well-rounded student, but for the past several decades, the importance of arts programs in many U.S. schools has been steadily compromised (Rabkin & Redmond, 2006). Pressure to compete internationally has influenced educational institutions to believe that an almost exclusive focus on academic fundamentals is the sole way to raise standards and close the achievement gap (Sholl & Sweetland, 2016). Katz-Buonincontro, Phillips, and Witherspoon (2015) expound on the predicament of today’s schools: expected to promote twenty-first century skills, including creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, leaders are simultaneously pushed to uphold standards-based…show more content…
Add the lack of esteem for the arts to the aforementioned budget and standardized testing issues, and very little room is left for the arts, a subject that often loses in the battle for precious time and resources. Appel (2006) evokes the spirit of the arts through Leonardo da Vinci, the “original” Renaissance man – artist, mathematician, inventor, astronomer, and leader - who drew inspiration from everything around him, including the arts. During his time, the arts were a required part of any educational curriculum, whether formal or informal. A means to reflect on the human condition, the arts were “considered inseparable from the sciences and other academic disciplines” and a vital part of community life (Appel, 2006, p. 14). Goodman (2015) furthers this notion by explaining that people - both yesterday and today - embrace the arts to gain understanding and perspective into the more immaterial questions of life. Da Vinci’s brilliance came from the world around him, a world that cared deeply about intellectual curiosity and inspired creativity. The modern arguments surrounding the arts do not deny their value, yet they get lost when faced with demands about budget, their direct impact on test scores, and where exactly they fit in a given curriculum. Many public schools have seen their arts programs disappearing, despite the numerous studies publicizing the benefits, including increased academic achievement, creativity, confidence, and

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