Broward county is now contemplating getting rid of the Arts and P.E. in elementary school in order to save money. I can appreciate budget cuts and realize tough decisions need to be made. However, research studies after research studies have proven that a program rich in the arts and physical fitness actually enhances academic achievement. Students NEED time EACH DAY to move around to bring energy to the brain and need the arts to process the information learned through their own creativity.
Music, theater and the visual arts make brain connections necessary for reading comprehension and math skills. The arts and physical education also create community by having the students work together to achieve a common goal. The arts and P.E. are an important component in every student’s well rounded education.
As an educator, I do believe in accountability and assessment. However, the money spent on the FCAT has not enriched the lives nor the academic experience of the students. Teaching to learn should be the goal, not teaching to the test. There are many, many good teachers in Broward who are creative and understand the needs of the students, but whose hands are tied because of the need to teach testing skills from August – March. It is time to let them actually teach with the support of the arts and physical education. Then we will have a system to be proud of!