This essay has a total of 1762 words and 8 pages.
I’d like to inform you about the great deal of budget cuts happening everyday in our public school systems. One of the hardest hit is in our arts and music departments. The battle over NEA funding and other important foundations that are set up to benefit our youths are being challenged by the government at an alarming rate. Cutbacks in our schools budget force students in these departments to go without necessary supplies that are essential in the learning process. I’d also like to show you why art and music education is essential to our children’s learning process, how it allows them to grow up to be well rounded citizens, and why as a country, we need to fight to save these programs.
It seems to be a continuous battle for art and music educations demand for some respect. Many legislators feel the problem in our schools is that budgets where not amended to fit the rise of costs in our economy. And because of this there simply aren’t simple ways to fund these programs. Other reasons for problems in the arts and music departments budget is that even though there is inadequate funding schools pass programs without promise of long-term support. Thus, creating a cycle of budget problems. This is our problem.
One particular agency, out of many, the NEA is facing problems that are similar to most in the art and music debates. “The conservatives are pressing the case that, in the time of tight federal budgets, taxpayers cannot afford funding for the agency, which received a $99 million appropriation for fiscal 1997. The critics also argue that the agency continues to fund pornographic and blasphemous projects.(Freedman,p.624)” As stated by Allan Freedman of Government and Commerce magazine, sums up the views some government officials are having concerning the NEA, an organization set up to benefit those in the art community. This organization is a powerful factor in terms of art education. The organization looks at all different types of art forms, such as poetry, painting, jewelry, ceramics, as well as dealing with the issues of art education. These feelings by leading government officials are being expressed in all aspects of funding for the arts and music.
The NEA is causing quite a stir in congress, and also according to Freedman, “ … in 1995, the agency’s foes not only managed to push through major budget cuts, but secured a pledge from the house leadership to eliminate the agency…(Freedman,p.624)” But why? Does our government really not have enough money? Of course it does, that’s not the problem, the problem is that we have not reached the point where we can have a perfect budget. Where we can distribute our funds properly. According to the same article, Rick A. Lazio of New York, one of the chief Republican NEA defenders in the house, “ We spend more on military marching bands then we do on the endowment.(Freedman,p.624)”
There are many polices, budget and funding issues that need to be looked over, some are out-dated, some miss used, and others just not effective in our educational system today. Let’s face it the “perfect budget” will never happen, the economy is ever-changing and the same goes for dealing with and handing out the funds. Both state and government agencies who deal with the budget of our art and music programs need to deal with what is before them. If there is not enough means of funding, then outside groups need to make up for that. This is why organization such as the NEA need to be supported not fought.
Not everybody in our government is opposed to adequately funding our art and music education departments, in fact according to Arts Education and School Improvement Resources For Local and State Leaders,
"The Congress finds that --
"1) the arts are forms of understanding and ways of knowing that are fundamentally important to education;
"2) the arts are important to excellent education and to effective school reform;
"3) the most significant contribution of the arts to education reform is the transformation of teaching and learning;
"4) such transformation is best realized in the context of comprehensive, systemic education reform;
"5) demonstrated competency in the arts for American students is among the National Education Goals;
"6) participation in performing arts activities has proven to be an effective strategy for promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream settings;
"7) opportunities in the arts have enabled persons of all ages with disabilities to participate more fully in school and community activities;
"8) the arts can motivate at-risk students to stay in school and become active participants in the educational process; and
"9) arts education should be an integral part of the elementary and secondary school curriculum."
These feelings are actually abundant in Washington. In fact our president as well as Al Gore are focusing hard on the idea of reforming our educational system in order to give these programs the money they need to be effective. According to The New York Times quoting Bill Clinton, “ Education has been an important dividing li
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