This is an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote 1.5 years ago, that I think is important to keep in mind:
A lot of attention in current literature about mathematics education reform has been drawn to the fact that it is unheard of for an intelligent, successful adult to proclaim that they are illiterate, but it is quite common to hear someone say they can’t do math. Many people have proclaimed that this is entirely unnecessary because everyone can do math, but our current educational structure makes it so they believe they cannot, or they fall behind, or they get stuck and never recover. I wholeheartedly agree, and programs that have been proven to improve performance of an entire classroom at varied levels should definitely get a push to be implemented in more schools (I would love to be a part of this push).
In addition, I believe that this false belief is true for the arts too. So many people say “oh I can’t draw” or “I can’t dance” but I don’t think this is something that is unimportant or something that they cannot achieve a certain level of proficiency in. People may not have the interest in practicing as often as artists do to achieve true mastery, but they can certainly be able to draw a proportional face, or have enough physical self-control to mimic a simple dance or embody a character. Many aspects of learning and executing the arts involve things that will be useful for future and for life, and in addition these subjects have been proven to be important to the “human development” of a student more than pre-career development (think of the value of great literature—very ‘human’).