State legislators should restore lost arts classes

Isaiah Brewer, Video Editor

In an attempt to give students a more personal education, North Carolina’s legislative branches proposed a bill that would significantly decrease the average elementary school class size.
With a smaller class size, teachers would have fewer students to teach, and districts would add more academic classes to meet the new class size standards.
And more academic teachers would have to be hired by the school districts.
Across the state, districts cried out that their budgets would not work for the new legislation, claiming more academic teachers would require more money for those new classes. Since the legislature offered no new funds for these positions, it left less money for classes such as art, music and physical education.
In Wake County alone, 559 classrooms would have to be created for 9,500 students, according to the News & Observer. Parents, teachers and school administrators alike fought the new bill since that would leave little room for students to access art classes.
The arts are the fundamental building block for educational greatness in our country.
President John F. Kennedy once said, “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”
For once, I actually praise Wake County public schools on their attempt to fight the state of North Carolina with its legislative decision to cut class sizes so that children could reap the benefits of an art or gym class.
Luckily, the Senate passed House Bill 13 raising the class size limit from 14 to 17 and impacting fewer arts, music and PE classes.
But even the revised bill cut many of these classes.
After all of the dust settles, my question is why would anybody ever want to cut the arts in schools? Schools already don’t fund these classes enough, and such a bill would destroy it for good.
Legislators have continuously acted before thinking in times past, and it’s getting old fast. They propose and pass bills that work for one specific thing without looking at what could possibly go wrong.
In this case, they looked at decreasing class sizes for a better education but didn’t see that hundreds of teachers would have to be fired to make way for these classes.
Some people could argue that the originally proposed bill was correct, and that students should only focus on core subjects. They believe that arts and gym classes are a waste of time, and we should only be funding education on things such as math.
But they need to look at the other side of things. Art and gym classes give their children an opportunity to express themselves and relieve the stress of school in gym class, not to mention the importance of physical activity to combat childhood obesity. These classes are quintessential to student success and the nation’s success and health as a whole.
Education for the arts is something that should never be abandoned or looked over. Lawmakers not only need to provide additional funding for the new academic classes, but make that funding large enough to bring back all PE, music and art classes lost during the implement last year.