I read with dismay the Feb. 2 article where Colfax-Mingo schools are reducing arts education classes. While I understand staffing issues, I write to caution the school administration on what could become a slippery slope.
As a 1989 graduate of Colfax-Mingo, I had 12 years of arts education which I feel made me a better person and a better employee. While I do not consider myself an artist, my arts education helped me to be a more critical thinker and a creative, innovative person. Creativity and innovation is what employers are already looking for and one of the best ways to obtain these skills is through arts classes. The idea behind arts education is not to create a whole new army of artists, but rather an army of future employees who are able to blend STEM skills along with creative skills to become in demand employees.
Further, a child who takes at least one arts class a year is four times less likely to drop out of school, four times more likely to participate in a science fair… and win a ribbon. Students with an arts education also score about 100 points higher on their SAT scores. In other words, if you cut arts education programs, you also making it harder for students to succeed in math, reading, science, etc. So, I ask that the Colfax-Mingo school system make arts in education a priority, not an afterthought as students deserve an education that will most fully prepare them for a competitive future.
Author, Colfax native
Americans for the Arts Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs