It is quite unfortunate, but true that arts and all its forms have always held a secondary position as far as a priority in the academic structure is concerned. You might deny agreeing with this statement but think of the next statement deeply. Visit any educational institution at random right when it is going through an annual audit where the first clause is to reduce the budget. The three specific categories which will receive the first blow of the ax are fine arts, music, and physical fitness which in some cases include the dance classes as well.
In fact, Peter Max who is a renowned artist and painter and still works to widespread the arts education in schools have noticed that there is a certain hierarchy maintained in the entire academic system in America, and in that particular hierarchy, the arts education belongs somewhere much lower in the table.
Here are some of the notable events he feels like sharing which would reveal the real-time scenario of Arts education in America and what are the changes that need to be brought in the society.
- Most of the New York City schools lack the arts education in their curriculum. And as a result of this, the low-income students suffer the most out of this. Since most of the public schools do not offer any art programs to the students, the low-income category students are being hurt the most. Even though it has been made mandatory by the State, almost 20 percent of the private schools do not have a single art teacher with them. One might even get surprised by city names like Central Brooklyn and Bronx which have been deeply affected as a result of this. Not only the certified instructors are missing in these schools, but also the expenses in this particular category have dropped by a whopping 80 percent. Instead, these funds have been used in enhancing the faculty or the infrastructure of the rest of the mainstream disciplines. This is not an academic hindrance only; it also results in a vast cultural issue as well.
- Even though the former First Lady Michelle Obama wanted to give some priority to the arts education, the scenario remains unchanged. While having some reviews and visiting some of the schools, Peter Max mentions that even she has noticed how it has been not prioritized, as a result of which the declining number of art classes has been sharply noted down. The attitude towards arts education has been more of an add-on, says Peter who leads to the lack of importance put into it.
However, it is believed, that even when the schools do not have money to support the official programs, but the teachers can make arts integration a reality on their own. Nowadays there are social media platforms which help to give a new identity, and teachers must take this advantage. Priority needs to be set, and this must be established as soon as possible.