What Would We Do Without Art and Music? One School District is About to Find Out

In elementary school, some of your favorite classes were P.E., art and music, but those won’t be an opportunity for students in Lansing, Michigan. 87 teachers will get cut in efforts to save $6 million in the budget. The school district plans on hiring independent contractors, but that still won’t replace the multitude of teachers who are being laid off. Each of these programs are vital to a child’s development.

Not only has childhood obesity doubled over the past decade, but with the onslaught of technology, children are less likely to play outside. The only activity that children may see is the physical education program at their schools. Clearly, it isn’t the recommended hour that each child should have, but it contributes to their overall physical health. Children also learn the importance of teamwork, competition, sharing, sportsmanship, and many other important factors to the development of children. For children who do not excel in schools, sports provide another way for children to recognize positive attributes. I know many people who saw P.E. as a starting point for their sports careers in high school; taking that away would be detrimental to their self-esteem.

Children also need art to help in their overall development. Art not only allows children to express their creativity and thinking skills, it also helps with appreciation of culture and helps develop relationships. Art provides another way for students to excel in areas that are not sports, academia, or music. Children realize how to interpret the world in different ways through art and realize that not everything is black and white. To limit their creativity and imagination would be atrocious, just like taking away music.

Music is one of the internationally recognized languages; at least, that’s what I believe. Everybody can understand music regardless of what how oneidentifies themselves. Children who are not exposed to music will not be able to understand that language. Students who take classes in music not only score higher in verbal and math, they also score better in reading comprehension. Music, again, allows students the ability to exceleven if they are not the best in other areas of study. Music also helps with hearing skills, memorization, and many other important skills needed to succeed in higher-grade levels.

I was never great at sports, so music was my solace. I was able to understand the simple notes explained during music class, always was the first to try out different instruments, and sang my loudest during school plays. I was extremely fortunate to have the ability to have private piano lessons where I explored my creativity towards music. I will always love music, but if it weren’t for elementary school, I would have never discovered that talent.

Obviously Lansing isn’t eliminating the program completely, but limiting the programs still won’t provide the needed classes for full childhood development. All these important programs need to be kept at full capacity in order for children to receive the best education. In a city that is the state capital and holds Michigan State University, you’d think they’d be able to help have a better solution.

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Michelle Adams

Currently serving as an AmeriCorps member at the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness with the Campaign to End Homelessness program, Michelle is passionate about ending homelessness. She graduated with a B.A. in Communication and a specialization in public relations and a minor in sexuality and conflict/management from Michigan State University. Her interests lie in writing about culture, sexuality/gender and homelessness. Offline she enjoys quoting How I Met Your Mother, volunteering, swinging at parks and stargazing.

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