I was invited to a birthday party for a former student and there were
many parents there from my school district. One parent (elem.)
expressed that he wanted his child to have art because it was a
pleasure for her but when the crunch came he considered it a luxury.
He thought that only the talented few would really benefit and they
would become artists on their own if art were removed.
When I explained to him in detail the learning that takes place for
all the students he was impressed but said "If you teach all of these
students to be artisans then where will they all find jobs? There are
not enough art jobs out there for all the artisans you are creating."
I realized that although he was supportive of the art program all
these years he had no idea the role the arts played in the schools. I
asked him to consider that the arts taught certain life skills (such
as work in teams, apply knowledge in innovative ways, problem solving.
working through blocks to name just a few) better than any other
subject area and if the child did not have the opportunity to exercise
those skills they would probably never be learned. If we based all
the subjects covered in school on his assumption then we would teach
math, for one example, to produce mathematicians and no one else would
need math as a life skill.
He decided that he needed to rethink his perspective. He is a bright
man. I assumed he understood more than he did. I was glad for the
opportunity to hear his point of view and maybe clarify what is
involved in teaching the arts.
You are right that it is up to us to be out there opening as many eyes
as we come in contact with. It would be ideal if everyone knew that we
are as important as math, science, and reading etc. ...but that is
not the reality so we have to keep pushing!
>From: Rick <email@example.com>
>To: "ArtsEdNet Talk" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: a fear
>Date: Thu, Jun 26, 2003, 10:05 AM
> Many parents don't feel that art is important. They don't know how it
> can affect children's lives- not just visual arts, but all of the arts.