Should the White House Promote Arts Education, or Math?
Yesterday, Obama (and Sesame Street) announced a nationwide initiative to promote math and science education, even promising an annual science...
Yesterday, Obama (and Sesame Street) announced a nationwide initiative to promote math and science education, even promising an annual science fair at the White House (which, I have to admit, sounds kind of fun). I'm wondering what the funding-for-arts-education set is going to have to say about this. I'm also wondering why there's a new national imperative to promote something that's already being done.I think we can all agree that math and science education is super important, and is worth promoting, but considering arts education has been slashed consistently for decades, what are we actually teaching now? Math and science. So this initiative is...an effort to get more kids more excited about the stuff they're already learning. To make it cool, which, not for nothing, is important and will help drive more students to pursue it. But is it more important to make math cool, or make math education better and more relevant to kids' lives? And is making the sciences cool more important than, say, promoting creativity?The argument against arts education is that schools can't afford to teach it anymore. That it's somehow not necessary; a bonus we can do away with when the budgets get slashed; an "if there's time at the end of class, maybe you guys can doodle for a couple minutes" type thing. Which is a horrible shame, because it's arts education that nurtures creativity, and it's creativity that solves the world's most pressing problems. It also helps in business, too. (Check out this recent opinion piece about the usefulness arts in business from HuffPo, here.)If you need more convincing, watch this TED talk. It's probably my favorite TED talk ever, and it's about how schools teach us out of our creativity. It's laugh-out-loud funny (seriously, he's a charmer) and worth a couple minutes of your time.So anyway, what's your take?