Keep art classes optional

Sally Rogal, Reporter

I love art and music education, but requiring students to study the arts may result in the loss of valuable time to pursue their interests and acquire more marketable career skills. Especially with the increasingly high demand for STEM jobs, schools should focus on teaching core classes rather than require students to take art and music courses.

Although art and music classes are a great way to show students creativity, they won’t help students get jobs in today’s world. STEM-related classes allow students to use their creativity to fix problems that at first seemed unfixable, which teaches them in more practical ways than in music or art class. For example, during a 3-D printing class, students are able to use their creativity to design an object of their choosing.

In the results from the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment, the United States placed 40th in math and just above the PISA average in reading and science for the 72 countries that were assessed. The United States lowered its performance for math by 11 points and maintained the same results in reading and science from the past year.

The United States, as one of the most powerful countries in the world, should not be placing around average. Our poor performance shows that the United States must emphasize math, reading and science education much more than we do now. If we require arts education, it will take time away from teaching core classes which will not allow the United States to move up in the rankings.

Schools recognize that art and music education is not as valuable as core classes and make their budget choices accordingly. In 2009, Detroit Public Schools was forced to cut their budget which caused them to eliminate arts education in many of their schools. When other school districts around the country were faced with the same issue, they looked to arts education as the first thing to go as well.

Art and music classes should not be mandatory in high school and schools should ensure that students are able to focus on their core classes in order to better prepare them for their futures.