SYRACUSE One of the most important things arts education and activities did (music, drama, creative writing, public speaking, art, etc., and sports and civic experiences as well), when they were in every school, was to give students opportunities to stand up in a room or assembly and engage others productively. They could then know how to face that first moment in front of a classroom or boardroom later in their lives regardless of what other paths brought them there.
When such activities are cut to lessen expenses, students are not able to grow into the kinds of persons it takes to be teachers, managers, or creatively spontaneous instigators of learning and creativity in those they work with and for. The arts don’t exist as frivolities, they exist as tools of understanding and courage. The arts enable teachers to discover themselves later and we need to celebrate the arts’ powers to pre-create as well as to recreate. Art is how we practice being the best people we can be. That’s what your state education motto means.
Bill Trzeciak, Penn Valley, Calif.
Originally posted at theeaglecny.com in response to Herm Card’s School Is In column titled “Reflecting.