Recently, the Lansing school district announced that it will cut as many as 87 teachers in an effort to address the district’s budget deficit. Many of the teachers expected to be laid off are certified to teach art, music and physical education to elementary school students. The district says it's not eliminating its arts and physical education programs, but “redesigning” them, using existing teachers and outside programming as a substitute.
But studies have shown that arts and physical education are more than just extras; they belong among the group of core subjects like math, science, history and language arts.
Mitch Robinson is an MSU associate professor in the School of Music and chair of the Music Education Department. Karin Peffer is an MSU associate professor of kinesiology who studies physical activity in children and adolescents. Both of them recently had essays in the Lansing State Journal about the school district cuts. They explain the role arts and physical education play in shaping youth.