Arts, Technology, and the Future

Why school funding needs to change.

GUEST COLUMN | by Yanaï Guedj

CREDIT Kizoa.pngChildren are our future, as the old adage goes, but what happens when we don’t equip our children with the right tools to succeed? More often than not, we’re seeing a trend in public school funding, with most states unable to provide millions of students the opportunity for success. With little improvement over the past five years, what will become of our children and our future?

According to Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card (NRC) released by the Education Law Center, there is a striking difference in levels of funding for K-12 education across the states, even when adjusted for regional variations in cost. For example, Alaska provides funding of “$17,331 per pupil”, compared to a low of “$5,746 in Idaho”. Even more alarming are the 14 states that are deemed “regressive”; providing less funding to school districts with higher concentrations of low-income students. The NRC also concludes that low rankings on school funding fairness correlate to poor state performance – including “less access to early childhood education, non-competitive wages for teachers, and higher teacher-to-pupil ratio.”

Many companies in the U.S. and around the world are investing in education, increasing the hope for the next generation of tech-whizzes, scientists, musicians, and writers — but there is always room for more.

With lack of funding comes a lack of well-rounded educational programs in our school system. An end to specialized programs such as art, music, physical education, and technology-based subjects can mean giving students a severe disadvantage to develop skills to enter today’s job force later in life. In fact, the report, Why We’re Behind: What Top Nations Teach Their Students But We Don’t, examines the curriculum and assessments in nine countries that have outperformed the U.S. on the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. The report found that a standard feature of those countries’ school systems is the demand that students receive a broad and diverse education. According to the report, “the common ingredient across these varied nations” was a “dedication to educating their children deeply in a wide range of subjects.” The report concluded, “Too many American schools . . . are by contrast sacrificing time spent on the arts and humanities.”

Many studies have proved that art and technology are recognized as important aspects of a well-rounded education – but more often than not, this falls by the way side when public schools are faced with budget restraints. With art and technology programs being the first to go, teachers are left on their own to obtain resources that introduce students to these subjects. An increase in charitable giving from technology- and art-industry corporations has helped many public schools expand their resources and the opportunities available in these industries for students. Free programs give teachers, professors and students the access to technological and creative outlets that are being taken away from them.

The future is about access, both locally and globally, and the more for-profit organizations out there to help supplement the art and technology needs of our schools, the brighter the future. Many companies in the U.S. and around the world are investing in education, increasing the hope for the next generation of tech-whizzes, scientists, musicians, and writers — but there is always room for more.

Yanaï Guedj, CEO and founder of Kizoa, an online video making platform using photos, videos, and music.

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