The Pros and Cons of Performing Arts Oriented High Schools

There is a strong bias in our culture toward academically oriented fields such as science, engineering, business, or the professions, medical, legal, academic, or political. We are using our educational system to try to gear students toward a very narrow range of options. It is assumed that everyone wants to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a businessperson. A high school might have a music department, drama department, and an English department that may teach creative writing but if someone really wants to make a profession of some performing art, do they need to jump through all of those other hoops?

I think they had it right in medieval times. When you wanted to go into a profession, you became an apprentice. You studied under a master and you went through differing stages as you yourself moved toward mastery. Today, students who go into different professions often find out that they aren’t prepared by their education. The actual on-the-job requirements are not quite what they learned in school. Of course it can help to have internships and other hands-on training such as they do in the medical field.

If a student really knows what they want to do in life, I think it is great to be able to go to a specialized high school such as a performing arts-oriented high school. You still have to learn the basics like any other high school student. You simply have a different focus and spend more time on one subject than a normal high school student.

I would like to see more specialty high schools and more colleges to train people for specific careers by providing specialized training. Most of the jobs in this country are not done by college graduates or those with higher degrees, and it’s a good thing. I would hate to have to work on my own car because no one wanted to be a mechanic or have to grow my own food because no one wanted to be a farmer. This culture does not sufficiently value those persons who work with their hands and yet we couldn’t survive without them.