Do The Arts Exist Anymore In US Elementary Education?

In recent years, the US educational system has seen a dramatic shift towards the logical, and an adverse and sudden dismissal of the creative and emotional. With budget cuts plaguing a great deal of primary level elementary institutions throughout the country, the first programs to be stricken from school curriculum’s was that of the arts, as they were seen as secondary and insignificant in respect to courses like math and literature.

However, as the arts have diminished in elementary level education, it has become clear that this absence has had detrimental impacts on the development of knowledge of children, as the overly logical components of quant-based curriculums have made it impossible to express one’s creativity and emotions. Yet, regardless of this reality, little has been done in re-implementing creative programs in education, despite the apparent need to do so. The arts impact far more than simply the left-side of one’s brain, it contributes immensely to the well-roundedness and potentials that each person has within them.

Arts Programs Boost Knowledge Comprehension and Retention

As schools continue to put an emphasis on logic-focused classes such as math and English, the removal of arts programs has had a negative effect on the performance of young students in their other courses. In doing so, one study provides insight into a case of two elementary schools, one which had an excellent music education program, and another which had low-quality or outright absent programs. The study found that those who had a robust music program consistently saw students receive higher scores on their testing than those that did not. These scores included scoring 22 percent higher on English exams, as well as another 20 percent higher on math, than their counterparts with less music education. This sheds light on the very real fact that the arts are not just a creative outlet, but rather a means to better comprehend and apply knowledge in a real-time basis.

Arts Provide Training for the Real World

One consistent pattern that has formed among many college students that receive their degrees, is that upon entering the real world of careers and employment, they are underperforming and unable to maximize on their capabilities. With the modern world depending so heavily on creativity for innovations and advancements in all fields, the absence of arts in early education has made it difficult for new entrants in the workspace to think critically and practically. Thus, entry-level jobs are not furthering new innovations as much as they should.

Although courses like math and sciences provide the technical and logical skills required in a given industry, the creative thinking and outside-the-box mentality can only be attained through artistic expression. As a result, many young students are entering the real world with practical knowledge of how to accomplish a given task, but become crippled when they are faced with challenges that are not so straightforward and directed.

It is evident that the consistent decline of arts programs in the US elementary education system are harming future generations. Without the ability to express oneself creatively and emotionally, the logical and technical skills taught in schools become almost irrelevant. In order to ensure the next generation is equipped with the knowledge and understanding to further drive innovation, it is necessary for elementary institutions to re-implement robust arts programs for its students.