The argument is sometimes made that schools should focus solely on the academic education of its wards, and anything beyond the 3Rs should be left up to the community on a sort of voluntary, self-funded basis. While seemingly fair to the taxpayer, the downside to all of this is that so many children would miss opportunities for positive development. And it seems unfair to all of humanity that we would be robbed of the next Yo-Yo Ma or Tom Brady because he couldn’t sell enough boxes of cookies to afford a bow or helmet.
To advocate for an increase of funding to arts programs in public schools in this day and age would be an absurd notion, irresponsible even. But as our districts prepare their 2013-14 budgets, we would urge school board members to consider the value of extracurricular activities, including the arts, and exactly what kind of return on investment these oftentimes minimal expenditures return.