Wednesday, April 20, 2011

High School: Killing Creativity One Step At A Time

Location: Brad's couch
Listening to: A commercial
Days Without Fast Food: 25 or whatever it was earlier

This really ridiculous picture is from a production of Seussical my high school put on my junior year. The boy with me is named Ian, and he is the absolute sweetest person in the entire world. He has a mild form of Autism. He's really shy and has a stutter sometimes, but he's always nice to everyone and would comfort people who were upset and stand up for people who were being picked on.

I know I'm in college now and this doesn't really affect me any more, but my old high school just announced some major cuts and changes to the theater program they offer. Now, our drama program was pretty high quality. We did some difficult shows (like Aida and Seussical) and sold out every night. Eventually, we had to add an additional performance to the schedule to accommodate audiences. Our middle school also did a musical every year, and our high school put on a three-act straight play.

Now, due to the changes, the middle and high school will have to alternate years to be able to perform. The three-act play will no longer exist. Budgets will be slashed.

I know budget cuts are a necessary measure all public schools are facing right now. Economics suck. But they didn't approach the drama department and go, "Hey, guys. We have to make some changes to a bunch of programs. We have this much money that we can no longer allocate to you, so we will let you determine how and where you want it cut from." Instead they went, "We have to make cuts, and this is what we're doing. Deal with it."

I know that other programs are probably getting major cuts, too, but does anyone else think that arts programs should be some of the ones kept around? Arts are sooo important in education. I used to have a really low self esteem and terrible confidence, but being involved in theater helped me to get over that and become who I am today. Theater gave kids like Ian and other kids who have a hard time making friends a place where they're accepted by everyone, and everyone loves each other like family.

Arts programs give kids an outlet for their creativity. They help kids develop talents that may otherwise go unnoticed and might even lead to future careers. They give kids something to do after school that doesn't involve drugs or crime. They help build friendships and confidence and leadership and self-esteem and all kinds of other great skills. I know my life would be so much different if I'd never been able to do theater. Almost all of my favorite moments from high school either took place during or because of a show.

It just really bums me out that things have to come to this. Sigghhhhh.

What do you guys think about things like this? Do you think that it makes sense for arts programs to get cut first, or do you think that other programs would be better candidates for changes? What programs were you involved with in high school that you would hate to see butchered like this?

That's it for tonight. More tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. What bothers me is that programs like the arts will get cut, but then superintendents will get mad crazy raises. I don't know about most superintendents, but the one for my school system did nothing to deserve a six figure salary.

    Arts are important, they shouldn't get cut. In a society where people are less and less cultured in the terms of art and what they get to experience or the fact that not everyone is fortunate enough to get to go to NYC or the big theater in State Capital, local community/school theaters bring that sense of class to a city. People who wouldn't ever get to see Aida or Seussical would get to see it.

    Plus, it's just fun for everyone and the arts foster growth in self-esteem and I know with music programs, analytical and quantitative scores can go up.

    It sucks that drama programs get cut while sports teams always seem to get more and more funding when more people can participate in the arts than sports.
    /former wannabe teacher rant over.