There is a movement afoot to bring back arts education to
The program is called ArtsPower and is backed by the Oklahoma
Business Circle for Arts Education. The program should get the
enthusiastic backing of the entire business community, the PTA, the
OEA, even the SPCA.
The reason for the arts education emphasis is that arts education
has apparently disappeared from Oklahoma schools, according to the
business circle and leaders in the arts community.
If that is the case, and I trust it is, then we all need to
support this effort.
Instruction in and appreciation for the fine arts should be as
fundamental as math, language arts and physical education. The
problem is it's too easy to eliminate.
This column will now degenerate into one of those when I was a
When I was in the third grade in Vidor, Texas, we had a music
teacher. She was pretty. I had a crush on her. But, she also taught
us to sing and enjoy music.
One of the accomplishments from that year was a music program
where we sang songs from the musical Oklahoma! I still remember all
the words to Oklahoma! and most of the words to The Surrey with the
Fringe on Top.
I didn't sing all that well as a third-grader, but I was
enthusiastic. I still don't sing well, but I haven't lost my
enthusiasm for singing, dancing, painting and sculpting.
I think it's a shame when our children aren't given the
opportunities we had at their age.
We now have school districts in our state that have abandoned or
seriously neglected instruction in fine arts. I've heard tales of
one art teacher serving up to three campuses in some districts and
others that have abandoned the effort completely.
That teacher can't be spending much time with our children as
individuals and the children are missing an essential element in
I think I've heard that studying fine arts enforces creativity
and expression. Creative people who know how to express their
feelings and thoughts make better employees. Better employees help
to make our economy strong and help us to compete for new business.
But beyond all that, it's just not right that we are willing to
shortchange these students and their future.
In another state, in another community, I helped with a campaign
to raise revenues for the city school system.
Our school board and city council had recommended a very small
increase in the local sales tax that would benefit the school