A recent study published in the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection shows children are experiencing higher rates of depression, anxiety and stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oklahoma state government leaders must use all tools at their disposal to address this growing issue. Of these tools, the arts are proven to be one of the most effective.
Before COVID-19, there was widespread acceptance that fine arts curriculum plays a critical role in providing a well-rounded education. There was also increasing realization that arts education is essential to developing creative thinkers.
Business and community leaders echo this thought.
Now, as students begin to return to their classrooms, they bring with them emotional burdens from the past year. These burdens are yet another issue arts education can effectively address.
Therefore, it is imperative that our schools be equipped with the arts as tools to help children rebound and thrive.
As the chairperson of the governor-appointed Oklahoma Arts Council board, I have seen the excellent work the agency does in arts education. But the banner of arts education cannot be carried by only a few.
We ask all parents, grandparents, educators, school administrators, school boards, civic leaders and others to call their lawmakers today and ask them to dedicate funding and support policies that prioritize arts education in Oklahoma schools.
Funding for the arts will help prepare our citizens with the creative capabilities required to meet 21st century challenges and fully recapture the mental and emotional well-being of our children.
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