As economic growth has come to a halt, people everywhere are struggling to make ends meet by pinching pennies and cutting unnecessary expenditures. Education systems are no different. At every level of education across the United States, schools are cutting what they consider to be either the unimportant or the less-important programs. For better or worse, a large number of those programs fall under the category of “the arts” — visual art, dance, theatre, music, and so forth.
In a world where the number of PhD recipients on food stamps and other forms of welfare more than tripled, and where the highest paying jobs are often technical or pragmatic and not academic or artistic, it makes sense that schools are re-emphasizing more practical, concrete, direct-to-jobs programs. That emphasis begins even as early as elementary school with more science and math and less dance and theatre.
In public K-12 schools around the nation, for example, only 4% of elementary schools offer dance and even fewer, 3%, offer drama — a 20% decline since 2000. This decline is worse for minorities: “fewer 18-year-olds surveyed in 2008 reported receiving any arts education in childhood than did those surveyed in 1982, dropping from about 65 percent to 50 percent…Just 26 percent of African-Americans surveyed in 2008 reported receiving any arts education in childhood, a huge drop from the 51 percent who reported as much in 1982…For Hispanics ages 18 to 24, the figure for getting any arts education plummeted to 28 percent in 2008, down from 47 percent in 1982.”
[Continue reading at Eugene Daily News.]