One of the highlights was the keynote address by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is a very strong advocate of the fine arts in schools. While he was in office, the state of Arkansas passed legislation that required the fine arts to be taught in all state schools. Fortunately, that is also the case in Texas.
The central point in Huckabee’s address at the convention was that this practice should continue to be the case. In Texas, elementary students are required to have sufficient time in the classroom for fine arts. In the middle school, students are required to have one year of fine arts. In high school, students are required to have one credit of fine arts.
Recent economic conditions have put pressure on schools to reevaluate the fine arts programs in their schools. I have taught in Port Aransas since 1965, and am pleased to say that the support for the arts in our schools has always been very strong.
To succeed in the arts, whether it is acting in a play, doing a work of art or learning to play an instrument, requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline. Belonging to a musical organization requires a commitment to a group effort to achieve a successful outcome. Learning how to play a musical instrument actually helps to teach students how to learn. It’s a process that is part of every learning experience encountered in school.
The fine arts should remain an integral part of our educational system, just as it is an integral part of our society as a whole.
Jim Cole is band director at Port Aransas High School