Arts make a difference in school districts

Last night, I attended my son’s last “stage” performance.

Is he a senior in high school, entering into one of our universities? No. That explanation would have merit. The true explanation has no merit at all. Despite repeated efforts to stem the course of the mighty White River School District, the arts have been severed from the elementary level of education. Key word, there. Education. The Great White is also gnashing and serrating the arts from the middle school and high school programs as well.

Polls show that 93 percent of adults believe that arts education is vital to a well-rounded education. Studies found students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement. Moreover, the high arts-involved students also watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service and reported less boredom in school.

Learning in one context assists learning in other contexts. Students in the arts score higher on their SAT’s in the math and verbal sections, dance increases motor skills, music helps in context of learning languages, drama increases literacy skills and problem solving.

Wait…wait…This is of no import to the Great White. Despite repeated studies attesting to these facts, they will pretend those facts do not exist. And while they forge ahead with nonsensical, arbitrary cuts, the music, dance and art summer camps flourish and have waiting lists. Why? Don’t ask, the Great White doesn’t.

After all, it is more important what happens on the turf or in the gym, than what happens in the auditorium or the gallery.

Yes, the arts can make a huge difference in a student’s life and lifelong attitudes. They just can’t make a difference to students in the White River School District.

Frank Thompson

Enumclaw