Increase Arts Funding In Schools
The lack of funding for arts programs in schools is forcing many of these programs to close. Participating in the arts gives students a chance to increase creativity, communication, work ethic, acceptance, empathy, higher-order thinking, and other important skills. It has also been proven to increase math, science, and literacy proficiency, as well as being something that students enjoy, which motivates them to go to school, pay attention, and learn. Being involved in the arts gives students a support network of people with similar interests, a feeling of personal success, and a way to express themselves and build confidence. Many low-income students don't have the opportunity to participate in activities such as theater and music outside of school, and the opportunity to do so in school is essential.
The Ontario Ministry Of Education, lead by Mitzie Hunter (Minister of Education), funds schools based on grants for various aspects of the school - each year, certain amounts of money are dedicated to classroom materials, building repairs, language classes, special education, etc. There is no grant for arts programs, though there are grants for other specialized programs such as outdoor education programs and second-language courses. This means that schools are forced to include arts programs in the rest of their budget, where they are often the first thing to be cut or limited.
Arts programs need sufficient funding in order to run - they need classroom space, materials, and qualified teachers. The decline in arts programs being offered means that many schools are focusing less on promoting the arts programs and courses that they do offer, causing a lack of enrollment in these courses. This cycle continues, as the fewer arts programs schools provide, the fewer students will enroll in them, so schools put less of their budget toward the programs, meaning even fewer are kept running.
The Ontario Ministry Of Education needs to realize the value and importance of arts programs in schools continuing to run and being accessible. One of the best ways to support that initiative would be for them to create a grant dedicated specifically to the arts, or to include arts programs in the Student Achievement Envelope of the Learning Opportunities Grant, making it possible for the extremely important continuation of arts programs in schools.