I’m a senior at Knappa High School, and my senior project was a magazine to share student artwork. During this time, I learned some interesting things about our schools.

Art education is frequently the first on the chopping block when there are budget cuts in our schools. Part of this is because between 2008-2009, during our economic collapse, school systems had to make changes. Over 80 percent of schools had their budgets cut, and in 2010, Common Core was introduced as the new standard for American education.

Elective courses such as music, art and drama were slashed, while college readiness courses began to take root and flourish. Classes that prepare us for college are important, but are they so important that our students have no art education?

Electives are just as important as these state-required courses — they allow students to grow and expand, as well as instilling respect. We live in a society that tends to only values art if it’s made by somebody with extensive amounts of talent, when in reality, it shouldn’t be.

I feel that our students should still be able to take art classes with the proper supplies. Art classes can help encourage students to stay in school, give them a sense of accomplishment, and teach them creative problem solving.

I would like to thank Knappa High School for offering the courses that they do, and I can only hope that these classes will be provided in years to come.

EMERALD CARRIER-MASON

Astoria

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