Regarding Counselors and anyone else who feel that art is not important....
We all have heard from people, as Ken voiced in his post, the aggravating
and extremely ignorant view that art is not important. With all of the
information that exists today that points to the contrary, it really
behooves all of us in the art education profession to re-educate those
people who still foster those opinions. It becomes particularly frustrating
when the people who are a crucial part of students' decision-making
processes regarding class choices, are feeding them bad and inaccurate
information. There are plenty of online sites dealing with the hundreds of
types of jobs that are directly linked to getting a good education in art,
in addition to just the importance of one's personal development that is
enhanced by having a quality art component in the curriculum. There really
is no excuse for anyone to be able to single art out as somehow less of an
area of academic importance, and more on a level with recess (not that the
play aspect is not a good one, but typically education has not considered
that on the same level as what transpires in more traditional learning
environments). NAEA has a wealth of printed information that certainly can
be accessed to support the importance of art in one's education as does the
US Department of Education - and the latter will send out multiple copies of
what you need free of charge with no 'membership dues' required!
In my position as Fine Arts Facilitator in my District, I have often been
asked for material to support the teaching and value of the arts in school.
There is no shortage of good, solid, sharable information available. I
would strongly recommend that all art teachers (as well as all teachers of
any of the arts), assemble a packet of materials dealing with arts advocacy,
that they can have at their fingertips for whenever the occasion arises that
they are needed. Perhaps it will just be useful as a back-up to a
discussion with a student about the importance of art in their education, or
a parent night discussion, or a misinformed guidance counselor that needs
some redirecting. In any case, there are bound to be many situations where
such a tool is important to have on hand.
It might be a good idea (so as not to have to reinvent the wheel yet again),
to contact your local state art organization and ask them for assistance.
They might already have materials for you.