We've heard a lot about the tough choices school districts are having to make, cutting programs to balance their budgets.
Ohio's first lady paid a visit to a Bowling Green school Thursday asking communities to support art in schools. News 11's Tanieya Lewis caught up with her for an Assignment Education report.
With songs and folk dances, kindergartners entertained some very important people Thursday. They had been working on it for the last eight weeks. School district officials and community leaders were their audience.
Singing along with the children was the guest of honor-- First Lady Frances Strickland. She said, "The dancing they had a little more trouble with, but that was exciting because it showed the kids learned to follow directions in a fun way though music."
The kids came from five different schools including Kenwood Elementary in Bowling Green. They're part of Gromko's Kindergarten Project, a music education and literacy program. Strickland says there aren't enough of these programs because they are the first to go when districts have to trim their budgets. "I think the communities can come together and figure out ways to make it possible in school, even if it's just a volunteer coming in," she said.
Until that happens, she says these programs will continue to disappear, and more schools will focus learning around abstract concepts even in younger students. Strickland explains, "Maybe they're capable of it, but it's a time where we want them to show that they're creative, we want them to learn through play, and we want really developmentally appropriate things for the children."
In fact, educators say that when the arts go, so does student performance in core subjects. Educator Martha Fether said, "The arts help. Help with intelligence, reading math."