I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft.
I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.
— John F. Kennedy at Amherst College, October 26, 1963
Few things inspire young minds more than experiences afforded through exposure to and participation in the arts. Regrettably, we are at a crossroads in our collective efforts to bring the arts into the core of student learning.
As professional educators working in a variety of learning environments, you realize that the arts are slowly being marginalized in our schools. We must do what is necessary to reverse this trend.
This state of affairs is further compounded by the current downturn in the nation’s economy, which is having a harmful effect on the ability of our schools to deliver a quality education to students. We at La Salle High School, Pasadena, understand the fiscal realities of the day. Yet we believe it is particularly timely to stress the importance of the arts and their transformative power within the educational arena.
The arts are essential to every child's education, which is why the arts are one of the core academic subjects in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Some schools, facing tight local budgets, are cutting arts programs. That is not the case here at La Salle High School.
Similar to English, math, science and the other core subjects, the arts (dance, music, theater, visual arts and film) are challenging subjects with rigorous content and achievement standards at the state and national levels. They require highly qualified teachers who challenge all students, not just those who are considered artistically talented, to perform works of art, create their own works, and respond to works of art and the ideas they impart.
In addition to studying the arts for their own sake, experiencing and making works of art benefits students in their intellectual, personal, and social development. Research studies point to strong relationships between learning in the arts and fundamental cognitive skills and capacities used to master other core subjects, including reading, writing, and mathematics.
The Arts help to develop critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills, as well as creativity and innovation.
Art has the power to help students understand and shape their world.
Jude Lucas, BA, MA, MAT, EDD
Visual and Performing Arts