Should a VPA be Required to Graduate? PRO


What would society be like without art? The world owes much of its culture to the skills that our most famous musicians, speakers, painters, and sculptors learned in school. Colleges all over the United States and throughout the world have come to embrace that inevitable truth, yet many high schools, such as Miramonte, neglect to make a year of visual or performing arts necessary to graduate.
The simple fact is that at least one year of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) is necessary to get into any CSU or UC institution. Their A-G requirements, a sequence of high school courses that are required for eligibility include: two years of history or social science, four years of English, three years of mathematics, two years of laboratory science, two years of a foreign language, one year of a college preparatory elective, and of course, one year of Visual and Performing Arts. These regulations have been in place for over 10 years, and with the exception of the VPA requirement, they correspond perfectly with all of those at Miramonte.
Currently, Miramonte requires students to have at least 20 credits worth of either a World Language, Technology and Career Tech, or VPA class. Because of this, theoretically, a student could take both a language and a class such as Computer Programming without taking a VPA. This puts more pressure on students that are already swamped with a heavy academic-based courseload. Classes such as crafts and drama are designed to give these students a brief respite from the drudgery of the day as well as an oppurtunity to explore new areas.
“With so much emphasis being put on academic-based classes and achievements, many students that thrive in visual and performing arts classes are overlooked,” said history teacher Kelly Ginnocchio. “If the only focus is core classes, students are not able to explore their interests and find their own areas of strength. ”
What students really need to understand is that taking one period of a fun and relaxing class in the midst of your four-year high school education is not a big deal. In terms of sacrifices to a person’s education, this isn’t a huge one. MIT will likely still want you if you take a year’s worth of Band or Video Production in your junior year. Students should embrace the oppurtunity to try different things and perhaps stumble upon a new talent.
A VPA can also enhance a student’s learning experience in other classes. A knowledge of baroque art can do nothing but help an art student taking AP European History, and it can perhaps even add to their learning.
In many students’ eyes, adding a definite VPA requirement wouldn’t be changing much. “I thought a Visual and Performing Art was necessary anyways,” said sophomore Lance Pieper. “There’s really no point in not taking one, it’ll help you get into college, and there are so many great ones offered at Miramonte. Why not take advantage of that?”
Children all over the world are already harnessing their creative power in their high school visual and performing arts classes. At this point, adding a VPA requirement would be just a formality that would provide students with an outlet to express themselves and feel a much needed sense of belonging.