Termination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities Budget

Recently, U.S. president Donald Trump has proposed a budget plan, which would remove all of the funding of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and National Endowment for Humanities (NEH). Although the budget cut increases funds in programs like Homeland security and defense, thousands will be affected if the budget plan is accepted. Students and teachers from Liberty Charter High School and other places of work are giving input on how this proposal would negatively impact the learning and teaching aspects of everyday education. Art and humanities are used in the everyday student life and help to balance the learning of sciences and math. Many benefits are seen through art and humanities and for a lot  people it is an outlet, and escape from reality. Without having these programs in our schools funded by the government, costs would be high. Art supplies are expensive as well as textbooks and books that are used in humanities subjects.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the NEA awarded $5.8 million through 194 grants to support lifelong learning, including support to pre-K through 12th grade arts education projects in 2016. Since 1965 the NEH has been able to provide annual support for 56 states and territories to help support over 56,000 lectures, exhibitions and discussions. NEH and NEA are large parts of the education in the U.S.A. Without them, today’s youth would only have math and science as learning options. Unfortunately, not every kid wants to grow up to major in either a math or science field. This may be surprising to some, but not every child dreams of being in physical labor careers or scientists. Not because they are lazy, but because that is not their strong suit. Every person is different and works differently, this means that theses programs funded by the government give more opportunities to those not interested in math and science fields . This is what they are for, to provide that portion of learning beyond just math and science. This education could give kids the need to look at jobs involving arts and humanities, such as teachers, historians, and designers of all kinds.

Jackie Nelson, former member of the Idaho Art Education Association, gave her opinion on the matter. Being almost the head teacher in the Arts gave her some strong opinion on the idea that our president would like to demolish budgeting for these necessary programs. She says that the Arts help to create “critical thinking skills” that people need to acquire if they were to move forward. The creativity that arts require is known to improve brain function, helping people to think outside of the box. They become critical thinkers and can communicate more efficiently. Jackie says that so many schools and organizations are funded by the Idaho Endowment of the Arts, who gets it from the federal budget. Without that money to help students and young adults in some of the only places that they can feel comfortable, they will be losing important life skills that are needed in the future.

We can look at China as an example. They had decided to cut arts and humanities from education for a few years, focusing more on the scientific and mathematical (business) side of things, but the graduates soon showed that they did not have the creativity to form critical thinking and understanding. China eventually fixed it after seeing this unpleasant data. However, that is not to say that the president of the US does not have any good intentions behind the actions. Jackie voices that it may be that Trump has just decided that America’s Defense and Homeland Security system needs to be stronger and a larger, more efficient force that can truly protect the country; the opposite of what Barack Obama was trying to do.

Along with the traditional painting and art classes; the electronic arts will be defunded as well, including Graphic design. Graphic design is pretty important in our growing world of technology. Any logo, magazine, and most websites have some aspects of graphic design. That’s pretty huge and it’s growing. Some kids want to express themselves creatively and artistically but don’t have the dexterity of their hands to accomplish what they picture in their minds.Daniel Colbert, a past graphic design student at Liberty Charter School, states, “I can use my creative side without using the traditional art methods”. High school is the best way to be exposed to graphic arts, because computers and programs for design are very expensive, and skills are complex and hard to learn.  Without the ability for these programs to be funded, students wouldn’t have this opportunity, and the programs would look different. Even sports don’t always allow this creativity

In high school, most students at schools seem to be involved in some sport whether it’s anywhere from swimming to football. But for those students not playing a sport, the next thing that a lot of students participate in are the arts programs including  theater. But what if the arts program was cut due to budget? What would happen to those students? Most students rely on having an outlet where they can go and not worry about anything else like the stress of school, family problems, or other conflicts that may be going on in their life. The arts program is one of those outlets for many. They are able to succeed when they put their passion into it. Like some athletes who are dedicated to their specific sport, so are these young artists who take time to memorize lines for a play then perform  in front of a live audience or finishing a painting for a competition or for their own enjoyment. These students are doing what they love and shouldn’t be limited to it due to budget cuts. It’s not just taking away parts of a program; it’s taking away part of the future generation’s life.

Science cannot function without art, and art cannot function without Science. The two subjects both use the same method of inspection. They both use thought, speculations, and theories that are tested where the mind and hand work as one- in the laboratory and art studio. Artists and researchers also use the same technique. The two contemplate- with materials, individuals, cultures, history, religion, and sometimes mythology- and they try to figure out how to turn one little thing into a masterpiece. There is one word that is used in both Art and Science, the word would be Techne, which is a word in Greek. This word refers to idea, innovation, and inspiration. We asked Ms. Tuel how does art affect science what role it plays and how would science be without art. Her answer was, “If you think about structure and angles of DNA, its basic art. I am no artist but I know that. Basic Science textbooks and Math books have artistic pictures to help students to visualize. You cannot put microscopic pictures in because students wouldn’t understand those, so the company hires an artist to make it more interactive with students. Dawson Knight, a student at Liberty Charter School states, “ Science itself is an art. You have to think of how number and formulas work together, they both had to have been designed perfectly. There’s science behind art and art within science.”

From the simple art classes in elementary to plays at Columbia High School, kids in the Treasure Valley have all been involved in some kind of art program at one point or another. For the ones whose art is their life, this transition would be very difficult. Suddenly not having a creative outlet, school could be more difficult and grades could drop. However, the proposed plan also decreases the budget on humanities, the history and English aspects of our education. For many kids, while they might like science or math, history is their love. They are good at it. It gives us a as a country an opportunity to learn about our origins more deeply. It strengthens our roots and reminds us why we are the USA in the first place, which is something we all need now. But not only will history, art, drama, music, and so much more be taken out of the schools, English will be too. English is essential to every part of life. Being able to read and comprehend, reason your way to an answer, and yes, even write an essay, are all essential components to an education. Succeeding in any other field becomes infinitely more difficult when you can’t understand what you just read or even write a response. Kids involved in sports, music, and who just do well in school in general have a fairly well rounded education because they can understand all aspects of life. Charlotte Hobson, a Liberty Charter student involved in both sports and music, weighs in, “Without music, many kids won’t have an enjoyable outlet. Not all kids like sports and so music is a different way for them to escape. It helps them in all aspects of life.”

Demolishing the National Endowment for Arts and the National Endowment for Humanitarian activities can lead to much devastation among those presently incapable of providing for these activities on their own. However, not only does it affect the immediate known art students, but also the rest of the student body. When learning environments do not have anything to do with the creativity that arts and humanity credits bring, then those affected are not able to think critically on their own. This can influence performance levels in math, science, English, business, etc. and leave holes in the place of innovation and creation. It also shapes the children of the country in poor and unnecessary ways, creating boundaries for the next generation. In conclusion, not only is it a bad idea because of the educational cons, but also because the entertainment and innovation of humanity in America may be at risk.

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