Hamilton, Bruce [faculty advisor, Director, Memorial Union]
Davis, Sheri [faculty advisor, Administration, Memorial Union]
arts; education; northeast; University of Rhode Island; honors
All my life, I have been raised and tempered by the public schooling systems of the Northeastern states. As I near the completion of my undergraduate studies, I can look back at all my years of education and see how my personality and skill-sets were forged into what they are today. Now, in the age of the No Child Left Behind Act, and in the middle of a war overseas, public schools nationwide and here in the Northeast are finding it increasingly difficult to produce the test results and proof of knowledge that is being asked of them. This mismatch has caused school systems to begin prioritizing teachings in a very lopsided fashion, diverting funding from certain subject areas in order to make the government’s grade in the subjects that are deemed more important. With this project, I intend to show both that the arts are one of these areas that is losing funding, and why the arts are just as important as any other subject area in education. Furthermore, I will explore why this prioritization is taking place, and how long it has been happening, as well as discover the long-term effects of a narrowed education. Finally, I will discuss several ways that organizations nationwide are fighting to counteract this trend, and what can be done on the personal level to join that fight. This project is very personal to me, as I have spent most of my college career starting and running a number of charity groups to raise money for this and other important causes. The overall objective of this project is to both raise awareness about this issue, and to inspire the change that is necessary to ensure a complete education.