I am going to propose a radical idea. Perhaps the reason that
the United States consistently scores lower in math and science
than other countries is that we keep cutting funding for the
While regarded as something that can be discarded when times get
tough, education in and funding for the arts is vital for us to be
able to keep up with the rest of the world in math and science.
Students who receive training in the arts do better in school and
better in math in particular.
“First grade students who receive visual and musical arts
training as a regular part of classroom studies showed improved
reading skills and were significantly ahead in math skills compared
to control groups in other first grade classrooms,” according to an
article published by Brown University, “Study of Arts, Music May
Enhance Young Pupils’ Math and Reading Skills (1998).”
And it is not just true for elementary school-age children.
“Students who study the arts for more than four years scored 59
points higher on the verbal section and 44 points higher on the
math portion of the SAT than students with no course work or
experience in the arts,” according to a 1995 study by the College
Entrance Examination Board.
Colorado, as well as California and New York, is looking to cut
40 to 50 percent of arts budgets. So why are our politicians in
such a hurry to cut the funding for an arts structure in Colorado
that is already under funded? This is an especially important
question when you consider how much money the arts industry brings
America’s nonprofit arts industry produces $134 billion in
economic activity annually. According to a recent study, “Arts and
Economic Prosperity: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts
Organizations and Their Audiences,” arts groups generate 4.85
million full-time jobs and $89.4 billion in household income, in
addition to tax revenues $6.6 billion for local governments, $7.3
billion for state governments and $10.5 billion for the federal
The problem could center on the fact that Americans do not have
the sense of attachment to art, partly because we have rarely had
an art movement that connected with the vast majority of
“Every other nation on earth understands the relationship
between culture and national identity, but not us. They’re not
looking at the big picture,” said Gerry Riggs, director of the
Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at
Arts are neither expendable nor optional to our lives in the
Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than
I believe this to be true but how much longer will imaginations
be encouraged when money is obsolete for literature, music, dance
Liz is the assistant design managing editor for The Collegian.
She is looking forward to graduating this May and looking for a man
taller than 5’9″.