The writer Thomas Merton once said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. The arts influence community, culture and even politics. It contributes to a child’s overall education. There are many benefits to letting children be exposed to the arts. The arts should not be cut in schools because children who participate in them score high on achievement tests, are smarter, and benefit at risk youth.
Children who are involved in the arts score high on achievement tests. The University of California in Los Angeles conducted a national study of 25000 students and noted that those who were highly involved in the arts had better results on achievement tests as compared to other students with low involvement in the arts. High scores can indicate higher levels of intelligence and reasoning that come from the availability of music, theatre and performance programs in schools for children’s benefit.
Also, children who are artists are generally smarter than their non-artist counterparts. The Dana Foundation in 2008 released a report conducted by scientists from world renowned universities entitled “Learning, Arts and the Brain, the Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition”. This report highlighted a link between participation in the arts and improved abilities in learning and cognition. It noted that children involved in the arts develop memory and attention skills that are applicable to other subject areas.
Arts education in school benefits at risk youth. These children who are economically disadvantaged and face the risk of dropping out highlight their involvement in the arts as their reason for staying in school. A national study that examined tendencies in low income neighbourhoods reported that those who were involved in arts programs were likely to win an award for writing essays or poems, be elected to class office or be high academic achievers.
To summarize, the access to the arts in schools should not be cut because the students benefit greatly from it. These artists score high on standardized achievement tests. They also are generally smarter than their non-artist colleagues. At risk youth benefit by not dropping out of school.