April 2012

Multicultural Educations

As a white person, I haven’t spent much time thinking about my own race, but rather my lack of a race as defined by American society. In other words, my multicultural education has consisted of recognizing that my White race gives me certain advantages in national and international settings, advantages that most other races do not have anywhere in the world.

If You Have to Cut One, Save the Arts and Cut the Sports

Arts programs are a better investment in our children's futures, and athletic clubs can always pick up the slack.

We often look at the arts through the lens of practicality, and sports through one of idealism. Learning to play the violin, painting abstracts, and acting on stage provide no tangible benefit to people or the economy. Those kids are never going to be able to make a living at it anyway. Athletic programs, on the other hand, enjoy a kind of deluded optimism, with people cheering their kids on to hit harder, jump higher, run faster, and maybe they’re get a college scholarship. Maybe they’ll go pro. The truth is that our children are much more likely to make a living in artistic pursuits than they are in athletic ones, and that career typically has a much longer lifespan. However, schools that are cash-strapped, facing consolidation, or declining enrollment habitually cut their fine arts programs.

Whole child education, and what it means to have a “liberal arts education” aside, arts education is not only relevant, but it’s economically and culturally important to sustain in our schools. The creative class, that contingent of people within the workforce that create the content that the rest of us consume, is entering the driver’s seat in the 21st century. Graphic designers, animators, copywriters, innovators in every industry are the future of our economic and cultural trademark. That class of people requires the kind of creative and conceptual cultivation that an arts education provides.