This post was originally published on Defender Network

By Laura Onyeneho

It is simple to observe how much stress is placed on traditional courses in the American educational system, such as math and science. A sizable portion of people will pursue jobs and lifelong studies in these areas, but what about those with a strong interest in music or the arts? Are these avenues frequently disregarded in public education, and does arts education have a greater worth than is now supported by federal funding?

Arts education has a major impact on youth’s personal and professional improvement. Its absence from the system would be drastic. And yet, decision-makers still find it difficult to prioritize arts education, even in the face of strong support from parents, the general public, and data that shows its value.

The arts foster community in a way that other disciplines frequently do not; they allow for creative expression that can facilitate interpersonal connections on various political and social concerns and on particular personal issues. It is well recognized that exposing kids to the arts enhances their attitudes toward learning and lays the groundwork for future self-expression and awareness. And research has shown that students in the arts, especially those learning an instrument, show drastic improvements in math and science scores.

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