Helping students reach their true potential
To complete this series on the multi-layered subject of arts in education (and the increasing lack thereof), I’ve invited Ralph Janes, a teacher at Milwaukee High School of the Arts and also the chair of its Theatre Department, to chat with me on this podcast.
Janes has felt the effects of budget cuts on public schools and art programs in particular, but has also witnessed firsthand the ways in which the arts can truly benefit students.
“Art challenges the status quo…and helps create thinking, autonomous human beings,” says Janes. “If you have a student study the arts on any level, they are more likely to do well in every subject they study.”
Janes notes that in the past, Milwaukee High School of the Arts received slightly more funding due to its designation as a magnet school. However, the school is currently financed at the same rate as other MPS schools, and cuts are slowly excising many of its programs — threatening MHSA’s reputation as an arts-focused school. Is an “arts school” really so if there are very few arts programs left? When there is little money left to fund specialized programs — whether they be in the arts, technology, etc.,– what effect does that have on the school and its students?
But beyond budgets and cutbacks, Janes explains how growing misconceptions about the arts — that programs like dance, music or theatre are superfluous to education — are just as troublesome.
(Windows Media Player)
Subscribe to Backstage with Mark Metcalf through iTunes here.