The average American teenager spends up to 17.5 hours studying per school week. That’s about 3.5 hours per day.
Of course, this data can vary depending on each class level of difficulty and amount of work on a certain night, but what do high schoolers do with their free time? Some invest in sports, but not everyone is an athlete. So what does that leave? Netflix? What about the performing arts?
Visual, creative and performing arts programs improve comprehension in literature, teach empathy and build confidence.
However, only 49.9% of students attending public schools nationwide participate in these programs. It is also important to remember that a lot of these schools, including WHS, require that a visual arts class be taken in order to graduate. Thus, the number of students who take these classes because they truly want to is a lot smaller.
For all of the non-athletes or for anyone who is looking for an outlet during these very trying years of in students’ lives, try the creative arts.
The creative arts, visual and performing arts especially, are proven to be very successful at improving students’ scores academically. However, this is where the problem arises.
Despite the scientifically proven statistics showing how beneficial arts programs are to students’ academic accomplishments, visual arts and music programs are often underfunded, decreasing the impact and usefulness of these programs.
For example, at WHS, many students don’t even know that there is a school newspaper. The paper falls into the creative arts category due to layout, photography, and writing skills gained.
To produce the paper, staff members are required to raise $900 each issue, producing 900 papers by themselves through advertisements, donations and fundraisers. In fact, this price was $1,000 last year, for 1,000 papers, but had to be reduced because of the lack of money raised.
Furthermore, in a study by the American Psychological Association, students who take music classes during the school year have higher test scores across all subjects than students who do not. The study also demonstrates that teens who had been playing a musical instrument for several years and participated in their high school band were about 1 academic year ahead of their peers.
This is why we should question why this cause is not worth the money.
To solve this problem, there is only one thing to do. Get involved.
Programs such as journalism, choir, theatre and art serve as creative outlets that many students depend on to escape the stress of their academic classes, or even tense environments at home.
Arts education is more than just academic improvement or a creative outlet, it is what many argue is the basis of humanity. Because the arts are so incredibly accepting, people feel more free to be themselves, which is all the more reason to give the arts a try. Involvement in a cause so impactful to many people will create a reason to “bring the arts back”. So go enter in that drawing competition, sign up for the school play, put in some earphones and really tune into your creative mindset, and remember the power that the arts have on you and your peers. It can be life changing.