by Sarah Babadzhanov, staff reporter
A ponytail bounces up and down as a girl walks to her last period class; this one is her favorite. Inspiring her future college major and career, this class has made the biggest impact. It isn’t math, science, social studies, or English- it’s an art class. And being that it is an art class, the school she takes it in can’t be this one.
Unlike most NYC public high schools, such as Forest Hills or Bayside High School, our school does not offer any art programs – for example, drama, dance, music, or art itself.
“… It’s certainly been cut out of education a lot more, in favor of core subjects,” English teacher Mr. Cross said.
Currently, students have their programs focused on major subjects – such as English, Math, Science, and History – along with one or more electives. None of these electives are art based, although according to Guidance Counselor, Mr. Lumetta, the 10th grade Mixed Media class credits are counted as the two required art credits.
Some may argue that this is with good reason – the future is hardly ever based around the arts. In college, the major subjects will matter. But the arts do benefit students in ways other subjects cannot. While subjects such as math teach how to solve problems, the arts teach the beauty of creativity, self expression, and individualism – something that cannot be taught the traditional way. “I think it can make students more confident about themselves, because the arts are very immediate things. Emotion is involved as soon as you sing…, play a guitar, the sound touches you emotionally. Whereas when you’re sitting down and listening to a teacher, it doesn’t always involve all the senses as the arts can,” Cross said.
According to a study from Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, art has been shown to help in core subjects, too. “A ten-year study, tracking more than 25,000 students, shows that music-making improves test scores… The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.”
Having art classes in school could also help attendance. According to American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE), students who are involved in the arts are three times more likely to win an award for school attendance than those who do not.
Junior Jena Vandenberge agrees, “It would be something fun to look forward to when coming to school. We have no creativity or self expression in most of our classes so it would really brighten up a school day.”
Art is an expression of creativity. Regular academics teach right from wrong. Art, and creativity, go against this.
Education and creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson said, “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.” in his TED talk about the possibility of schools killing creativity. Clearly, the arts – drama, dance, music, and art – are needed at this school.