Funding the Arts


Logan Morris

The music program at Gables is full of organizations that help create a strong backbone to artistic abilities in students.

Kassandra Barreiro, Staff Writer

Many Americans question whether the arts are necessary in schools. Similar to the arguments (or lack thereof) debating the arts, funding has been limited. Due to cuts in funding, the first things to be dropped were the arts.

In public elementary schools, the primary teacher has been forced to step in and not only teach math, reading, science and social studies, but also art and music. The teacher’s job, consequently, becomes more difficult in having to prepare for core subjects in addition to making time to include the arts as well. Statistically, the percentage of elementary schools with a visual arts class declined from 87 to 83 percent.

By virtue of the changing of periods and having different teachers every hour, public middle and high school electives are determined by the magnitude of student requests. In addition, each school receives a certain amount of money for funds, dependent upon the number of students, so as a consequence, the amount of electives varies from school to school.

Before poverty’s rise to prominence, the inverse correlation between the amount of students eligible to receive free or reduced lunch determined the funding for arts. During the school year of 1999- 2000, 100 percent of Florida high schools had a music class while around 44 percent of the student body were eligible for free or reduced lunch. A decade later, only 81 percent of high schools offered a music class, while around 50 percent became eligible for free or reduced lunch. This means that as more students are eligible to have free lunch the lower the chances are that the arts will be offered due to poverty. As Although many schools struggle with funding for the arts, at Coral Gables Senior High the arts are still very active.

“School officials say that what they care about most is the education of their students yet they’re cutting down on one of the most important factors of education. Incorporating the arts into education creates culturally educated and well- rounded students. Electives and the arts are the classes students get to choose because of their unique interests and provides them a way of expressing themselves,” senior Camila Lupi said.

Even President Obama has taken an interest in the fine arts in schools, due to the well-rounded students they create. Nevertheless, art programs continue to suffer.