The Arts Are Essential

Cornell University’s president on why teaching creativity in schools is not a luxury. BY DAVID J. SKORTON, From Edutopia.org 

As president of a large research university that received 33,000 applications for 3,050 places in the fall freshman class, I’m often asked by parents of students in high school, middle school — and even those in preschool — what their children should study in the K-12 years to increase their chances of admission to college. I dutifully affirm the conventional wisdom: Take the most challenging courses in core academic disciplines like English, languages, history, math, and science for the required number of years, participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer … . Then I put in a plea for taking time to explore the humanities and arts in all their varied dimensions — visual and performing, Western and non-Western, classical and avant-garde. Far from being mere adornments to educational development, easy to dismiss as nonessential in tight economic times, these disciplines nurture our creative instincts.

Although they do not always lend themselves to the kinds of metrics used to demonstrate proficiency in reading and math, the arts and humanities play a vital role in the educational development of students. They keep and convey our cultural heritage while opening us up to other societies and civilizations around the globe. They help us explore what it means to be human, including both the ethical and aesthetic dimensions…. read more 


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About arts2grow

Arts to Grow (ATG) engages children in the artistic process by providing free, highly tailored and professionally taught arts education programs to youth in the New York metro area who have limited access to the arts. Arts to Grow collaborates closely with schools and community groups to match performing and visual arts programs and Teaching Artists with the specific needs of each group of children. ATG serves the community and society by helping children develop their full potential through the arts.

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