January 2011 Your Turn

Many reasons have been cited for including the arts in school. But have you ever heard of what might be called the “back to basics” rationale?

“Human beings were dancing and singing a long time before they were counting,” wrote New Mexico board member Doris Bruton Carleton in response to our November question, “Can We Afford the Arts?”

“They were also painting on the walls of caves and using their bodies for decorative art,” Carlton continued. “That must tell us something about the importance of the arts in our lives.”

We received more replies to this question than to any of the others in the past year -- and that should tell you something, too, about how important ASBJ readers view the arts. Of those, 91 percent said “the arts deserve full funding -- or at least funding commensurate with core subjects like math and science -- despite the ongoing budget crisis.”

Seven percent said that we should support the arts, “but in times like these we should focus on the basics.” No one thought the arts were “a frill” in these tough budgetary times. And two percent marked “none of the above.”

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