How the Arts Help Students

Kayla Lien, Opinion Writer

Kayla Lien, Opinion Writer

Would we really be helping “make America great again” by stopping funding entirely for education, research, and the arts? In his very first budget plan, Trump has proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and  the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that gives support and funding for projects showing artistic excellence. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is another independent agency of the U.S. government, designed for supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities (which include history, geography, linguistics and languages, laws and politics, literature, performing arts, and more). Utah is already lacking in funding for education; we’re one of the worst states. The money Utah spends per pupil is the lowest in the country. 50 states and Utah is the last.

Every two years, Utah’s fourth and eighth graders participate in a nationwide test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress. As of 2016, a study from the Urban Institute found that when the overall NAEP score when adjusted for demographics (race/ethnicity, language, disability and socioeconomic status), Utah is found as one of the lowest in the country, ranking above only West Virginia, Hawaii and Alabama.

For years, arts and cultural leaders have fought the same battles for continuous federal funding. Now they find themselves in the worst disaster they could’ve imagined.

This new budget plan would eliminate the NEA’s $148 million budget, the NEH’s $148 million budget, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) budget of $445 million, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) $230 million; a miniscule portion of the $4 trillion federal budget.

The aforementioned programs are crucial in the success of students, especially those from low socio-economic backgrounds. The NEA, CPB, IMLS, and NEH are key contributors to so many free-to-use programs and books important to students like you and I.

This decision directly impacts our schools, and by extension, our students. The job of the President is to keep the country stable and running for the next generation to inherit. What exactly is keeping the next generation stable and running? The arts. Ironic, isn’t it?

Learning to read music and understanding concepts like rhythm, time, and pitch have a direct correlation to comprehending math skills. Students from low socio-economic backgrounds are twice as likely to excel in math if they have musical education. Studying lyrics of music helps students learn phonics, syllabication, vocabulary, imagery, myths, folklore, geography, and culture.

Researchers at John Hopkins University reported on the importance of the arts in children’s’ lives. The study showed that when art was incorporated into the curriculum, students showed more motivation, paid closer attention, and remembered more of what they were learning. The arts also provide learners with non-academic benefits such as promoting self-esteem, motivation, cultural exposure, improved outlook on life, appreciation of diversity, confidence, etc.

After I asked her how she felt about the prospect of defunding the arts, Ms. Porter, East High’s Ceramics teacher laughed unsurely, “I think it’s really heartbreaking that we have a leader that doesn’t seem to – from what I’ve observed from reading in the news and media outlets – value the arts and the importance of it in our communities and visual performing and to cut funding for that is crazy to me.” Waving her hands about, she added, “Can you imagine a world without art?”

Without the arts, what would the world be? What would we, humans, be? Art makes humanity different and creative, without it we are all the same, all of us painted in the same shade of grey. All forms of individuality are important in our lives, and especially for that of students, who try hard for any sense of self.

If the President thinks he’s fixing America by destroying the arts in schools, he’s going to be very shocked when he kills them.

How the Arts Help Students Excel

How the Arts can Help Struggling Learners

The Importance of Fine Arts Education

What Book Lovers Lose if We Lose the NEA and NEH

Utah is Still Falling Short on National Education Rankings

State Education Spending Per Pupil Data


#trump #students #art #NEA #NEH #IMLS #CPB