Arts classes should factor into a GPA3 min read

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Arts classes should factor into a GPA3 min read

photo by Matthew Rabinowitz

photo by Matthew Rabinowitz

photo by Matthew Rabinowitz

Molly Zatman, Guest Columnist

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I’ve taken various art classes throughout my years at CESJDS, taking pride in my work and doing my best to succeed, but all of the hard work that I put into my creations will barely affect my future. At JDS, art classes are not factored into student’s GPAs.

Obviously, JDS regards art as important, as it recently implemented an arts credit requirement for the new freshman. But while other schools hold art to the same regard as other classes — both Berman Hebrew Academy and Montgomery County Public Schools factor art into their students’ GPAs — JDS’ stance on factoring art in the GPAs has not wavered.

My GPA isn’t just a number, it’s an important factor in college admissions. Although colleges do get your transcript that has all of your classes, including art, a student’s GPA still holds value in the college admissions process. It’s your transcript and grades summed into one whole number and two lovely digits. JDS recognizes the importance of GPAs, and rightfully so.

Courses which JDS deem important enough to be factored in, however, include English, history, sciences, mathematics, Jewish text, languages, journalism, creative writing and more. The GPA club isn’t exclusive. In fact, if you take a look at the course offerings catalog, the only big group of electives that’s missing the little asterisk which indicates that the course is factored into GPAs is the arts section.

I often hear the common objections. Teachers might tell you that art isn’t “academic” enough. Classmates that I’ve spoken to also have cases against it. Some of these include that “Art can’t be in the GPA because it’s too easy,” “Some people are just naturally better” or simply, “It’s too subjective.”

Except each of those objections has an answer. Art is academic, maybe not in the sit-down-and-write-an-essay sort of way, but in the sense that you can learn valuable skills and techniques. If art is “too easy” for you, then there are plenty of ways that you can challenge yourself. Of course, some people are naturally better at art than others, because that’s how being human works.

Most of my classmates are more naturally keen to science and math than I am, but I’ve learned different strategies of how to process information and study. Art may be subjective, but so is English. That hasn’t prevented any other “subjective” subjects from being in the GPA.

Ultimately, even when every reason for art classes not being factored into the GPA is well-rebutted, the school still refuses to evaluate art like other courses. This sends the message to students that art doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter as much as journalism, English, Algebra II or any other subject. Because it’s art, it’s still just not “good enough” or “academic enough” to be factored.

The problem with this entire debate is that it ends exactly where it begins. What makes art so special as a subject — its subjectivity, ability to convey emotion, the entire process of creating a work — is ultimately what prevents it from being seen as “good enough.”

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