Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 9:11 pm | Fair 56º

 
 
 
 

Bill Cirone: Arts Essential to Well-Rounded Education

The arts often provide the skills and motivation required for school success

When school budgets get very tight, art and music education tend to be among the early casualties. In a very sad way, it’s understandable.

These are the days when every school and every classroom is rated according to how students achieve on standardized tests. You can scan those tests till you grow very weary and you will surely never see mention of a treble clef or a two-point perspective. When tests measure reading, math and social studies, that is what is taught, and that is where resources must be allocated.

What is much more difficult to understand is a political arena and a social context that make that choice necessary in the first place. It is short-sighted and counterproductive. The arts are not frills — they are essential elements of a complete education, and often provide the very skills and motivation required for school success.

The reasons to include arts in a school curriculum are compelling.

The arts represent a form of thinking that is both sensory and intellectual, and is based on human imagination and judgment. The arts are a form of expression and communication that is essential to the human experience, and truly deserve a regular place in our classrooms. What’s more, the arts provide unique ways of reaching students who may not access knowledge as readily through language and mathematics alone.

In addition, studies also point to higher levels of student involvement and educational achievement among students taking advanced arts courses.

Fortunately, most Americans recognize the importance of this early engagement in the arts. A Harris Poll found that 90 percent of respondents considered the arts vital to a well-rounded education for all students.

Parents seem to recognize that the arts provide a heightened appreciation of beauty and cross-cultural understandings, and that the arts seem to enhance creativity, thinking skills and discipline. Many young people find great joy in artistic expression. For some, it is an outlet and a source of inspiration. It helps them keep connected to their teachers and their schools.

The benefits of arts education can translate into real advantages, including closing the achievement gaps between groups of students, keeping young people in school who otherwise might dropout, and preparing students for the demands of college and an ever-changing workforce. If we had a magic pill that would do all that, we would be dispensing it widely.

In declaring March as Arts Education Month, the State Board of Education stated that arts education is an essential part of basic education for all students, K-12, to provide for balanced learning and to develop the full potential of their minds.

Throughout the western world, arts education is an integral part of a child’s education. Arts education is essential. On behalf of all the children we represent and serve, we should support arts education with all our efforts and resources. Otherwise we will have drained from our schools the humanity, the creativity, the discipline and the joy that arts can provide to all our children.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >