I'm not a political animal. I cast my vote and hope for the best, but sometimes you have to do more to make your voice heard. The respective bills regarding dropping the 1 credit Fine Arts requirement for graduation is such an issue. The Texas State Senate will be voting on SB3 and the Texas House of Representatives on HB3. Both bills have the goal of ending the fine arts minimum requirement.
Bad For Texas Schools
This is not a good idea for our schools here in Texas. Please read on. If you also think this is a BAD idea, contact your elected officials and ask them to vote NO. Find out who your elected official is.
That link is http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ in case you want to write it down. You can go to your senator or congressman's website and use the email form if you wish.
Contact Your Senator & Congressman
If you feel that ending a fine arts minimum requirement is bad, please click the link to obtain the contact info for your senator and congressman, and please tell others about this. The vote is April 29, 2009. What follows is basically what I said to Senator Glenn Hegar and Congressman Pete Olson, my representatives to the State Legislature. Feel free to adapt my letter.
WHY ART IS IMPORTANT
I'm very distressed to learn that the Texas State Senate and House are considering dropping the 1 credit fine arts requirement as a graduation requirement. In today's highly competitive world, having a well-rounded educational background is more important than ever, and art is an integral element in achieving that goal.
Art Creates Brain Flexibility
Art stimulates different parts of our brains and causes us to feel, to laugh or cry, and to THINK about something in different ways. Isn't that the object of all education? To teach someone to use their body of knowledge to think and to use their abilities to become a productive member of society?
Art & Science Together
It is no surprise that some of our greatest math and science geniuses also create art or music. Art is the trigger for creativity in all areas. Pietro Perona of Cal Tech and Stephen Nowlin of Art Center College of Design put together "Art for Science's Sake." Nowlin said: “There’s a notion that art and science are polar opposites, and that artists and scientists only visit the other side as a kind of escape from the rigors of their own disciplines. I don’t think that’s the case. There’s a place where they overlap. There’s no doubt that science and new technology can transform the world we live in, but they can also transform the nature of art."
Build A Bridge
The study of art helps students bridge their existence with all human existence by using their imagination and creativity. This exposes them to cultures across a broad spectrum of civilization thus creating the multicultural experience that allows them to understand, respect, and value other peoples.
Art enhances life and enables students to explore their own imagination, interpret their ideas, and in many cases, release negative emotions in a safe, creative way. In the end, it may give them tools to use in their daily lives that allow them to respond to situations in a more positive manner.
There have been clinical studies that support this. Look at the many art programs used successfully in rehabilitation for those stricken with mental or physical illness or injury.
Currently, the minimum high school requirement supports the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Fine Arts Graduation Requirement. Every student who wishes to obtain a baccalaureate degree from a Texas institution must have 3 credits of fine arts. To drop the high school minimum requirement is to not support the higher education requirement.
Call To Action
My husband and I are two constituents asking that you uphold the requirement for a fine arts credit. Please vote NO on SB3/HB3.
The squeaking wheel gets the grease. Nothing can squawk as loud as a motivated voter.